Click here to
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to employers and employees as to what constitutes an essential service where workers cannot work from home and have no option but to travel to work.
In addition, workers in the categories of essential services set out in the attached appendix are permitted to travel to work, subject to compliance with the guidance below.
If you carry out an activity that is necessary for the continued provision of an essential service by another organisation or you are part of an essential supply chain, you should continue to carry out that activity. To the maximum extent possible, that should be done remotely.
The government also recognises that many companies in Ireland are critical to global supply chains that are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and many companies also perform critical global roles in other aspects of medicine, as well as security, cyber, cloud and data centre infrastructure. It is intended that these essential global roles are encompassed within this national guidance.
What employers should do
What employees should do
Business Continuity and ResilienceAll organisations who provide essential services should have business continuity and resilience plans in place. This should take account of the possibility that key workers or key facilities may be impacted by COVID-19.
Non Essential ServicesIf you are not engaged in the provision of essential services, then you are not permitted to travel to and from work until 12 April 2020.
There will be a grace period until 6pm on Monday 30 March for people who need to make necessary arrangements to wind down their activities in an orderly way. This should however be done in a way that minimises travel and personal interaction as much as possible.
In exceptional circumstances, it is accepted that some extra time will be needed for a wind down of activity, or necessary for a site to continue to operate at a reduced level of activity, for example in complex manufacturing processes or very large construction projects.
ReviewThis Guidance will be kept under ongoing review, and will be updated as required.
Services provided in the following areas are considered to be essential.
Agriculture and Fishing
To assist the public and business owners the following is an indicative list of what are considered essential retail outlets
Essential retail outlets1. Retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers in non-specialised and specialised stores
2. Retail sale of household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences and businesses
3. Pharmacies/Chemists and retailers providing pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical or dispensing services
4. Retail sale of selling medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores
5. Fuel stations and heating fuel providers
6. Retail sale of essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding
7. Laundries and Drycleaners
8. Banks, Post Offices and Credit Unions
9. Retail sale of safety supply stores (work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment, for example)
Businesses that can only offer emergency call-out or delivery servicesIt is recognised that there may be emergency needs arising in a number of areas, the following retailers who can offer an emergency call-out or delivery service can continue to operate on that basis ONLY:
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien has called on third level universities and institutions to offer partial refunds for accommodation to students.
Most students across the country have vacated their on-campus accommodation and returned home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy O’Brien said: “So far, some Universities have offered refunds to students but not all have done so, and I am calling on the rest to do the right thing here and refund students their money.
“I have submitted an amendment under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest COVID-19 Bill 2020. It outlines how all relevant payments for accommodation provided under section 13(d) of the Planning and Development Housing and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 shall be refunded within three months for the relevant period if the accommodation has been vacated by the licensee due to the suspension of Higher education activity due to Covid-19.”
“This amendment places a statutory obligation on student accommodation provers to refund rent for this term of third level due to Covid-19 closures. Students should not have to pay for a service they do not get.
“I have been contacted by students who have left their accommodation as a result of the COVID-19 crisis which forced the closure of college campuses across the country. Only some Universities and institutions have been offering the partial refunds. In private rented accommodation landlords are refusing to offer students.
“Providers who are holding on to prepaid rents need to do the right thing here,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
EMERGENCY MEASURES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST (COVID-19) BILL 2020
This amendment removes the discretion from the Minister in setting the commencement date of these measures. It aims to give clarity and certainty that they will start from Monday March 30th after the President signs the law over the weekend.
4.1.(c) Subject to a vote of approval by both Houses of the Oireachtas.
This amendment places the power to extend the measure in the hands of the Oireachtas after the three-month emergency lapses. The government’s proposal is that they can unilaterally decide to extend it effectively by-passing both houses of the Oireachtas. The significant powers contained in this bill should be proportionate, effective and subject to oversight and review. This amendment ensures that high level of oversight and ultimately approval by both Houses.
As per the amendment above.
(3) For the sole purposes of section (8), tenancy under section (8) also applies to licensees as defined under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.
This amendment extends the provisions of tenancy protections to Rent a Room schemes. It means that renters in the scheme cannot be evicted during the three month period bar for extreme anti-social behaviour. The normal situation will revert after the crisis as it is the principal private residence of the landlord. Any long term changes would undermine the attractiveness of the scheme.
Section 8. A
“All relevant payments for accommodation provided under section 13(d) of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 shall be refunded within three months for the relevant period if the accommodation has been vacated by the licensee due to the suspension of Higher education activity due to Covid-19.”
This amendment places a statutory obligation on student accommodation provers to refund rent for this term of third level due to Covid-19 closures. Students should not have to pay for a service they do not get.
“All Housing Assistance top up payments shall be compensated by the Minister to Tenants affected by Covid-19”
The HAP top up payment is overstretching tenants. Given the vulnerable status of these tenants they require additional support for those impacted by Covid-19. The state needs to step in to support these tenants.
“The Residential Tenancies Board shall issue a report assessing the effectiveness of the measures contained in Part 1 and Part 2 after a three-month period. Said report shall be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. The report shall cover
The proposals contained in this legislation require the goodwill and co-operation of all stakeholders if they are to protect tenants and secure the viability of the rental sector. The RTB has a central role to play in supervising its impact and the level of adherence to ensure no bad faith is shown. It can also draw lessons from the experience to apply to long term housing policy. This amendment mandates the RTB to report on these matters to the Oireachtas to help ensure full transparency over the legislation and informed future debate.
“All fees under Section 137 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 as amended by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 are suspended for a 12-month period effective from March 30th 2020.”
A large number of new properties have come back onto the rental market as a result of the AirBnB and other short term lettings collapse. This is a welcome development albeit it exposes the weakness in our current regulations. We need to attract more into long term renting to confront the crisis in the sector. We should also recognise the contribution of decent landlords to these protective measures. Suspending registration fees would be a measure to reduce costs and ease access to the long term rental sector.
“The Minister shall publish regulations setting out payment break criteria for all mortgages under the Re-Building Ireland Home loan scheme .”
There have been serious concerns raised by Re-Building Ireland Home loan holders that the forbearance protections afford to mortgage holders with the main banks have not been extended to them. Given the scale and intensity of the crisis these homeowners should be fully protected within the umbrella of polices to help them keep their homes without severe financial or credit penalties. This amendment mandates the Minister to set out clear guidance to each Local Authority to help affected homeowners.
“The Minister shall publish regulations setting out payment break criteria for all mortgages under Credit servicing firms as defined by the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2018.”
The main pillar banks have agreed set procedures to provide forbearance to mortgage holders in distress due to Covid-19. This amendment extends those provisions to all mortgage holders outside of those banks i.e Vulture funds etc. The definition is drawn from Michael McGrath’s Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2018 that the government agreed with and was passed into law.
“relevant property” has the same meaning as it has in the Valuation Act 2001,
“emergency period” means the period beginning on 26 March 2020 and ending on 31 May 2020.
(2) Where a relevant property is occupied by a person engaged in a business and the business of that person has been adversely affected by Covid-19 to a significant extent, the emergency period shall not be reckonable in the calculation of the rate levied by a rating authority in the local financial year.
(3) When calculating the amount of the rate to be levied in accordance with the formula provided for in section 4(2) the rating authority shall deduct from the amount calculated as ordinarily payable a sum equivalent to that proportion of the rate attributable to the emergency period.
This amendment removes commercial rates for the emergency period. The current government position is a deferral for two months which we believe is insufficient. This amendment builds on a separate bill FF published to introduce a complete moratorium on rates for affected businesses for up to 12 months that we hope the Dail can agree in the coming weeks as a measure to help business re-build. In the interim period this amendment will help to take pressure off business in the short term.
“Act of 1980” means the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1980
“emergency period” means the period beginning on 26 March 2020 and ending on 31 May 2020,
(2) A landlord shall not terminate or serve a notice of termination in relation to a lease or tenancy during the emergency period.
3) A tenant who, but for the operation of subsection (2), would not acquire any rights under Part II of the Act of 1980 shall not, by virtue of such operation, acquire such rights.
This amendment effectively extends the provisions we are extending to renter to businesses who are renting premises. It protects businesses from evictions during the emergency period. This is critical in protecting businesses and giving them a fighting chance to re-build once the crisis has passed.