On March 24th the Government approved publication of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020. The Bill makes exceptional provision for emergency measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses, and the administration of crucial public service functions.

 The Bill provides for :

  1. the introduction of a temporary wage subsidy scheme to maintain the viability of certain businesses, jobs and incomes until normal business resumes;
  2. amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2004-2019 to prevent the termination of residential tenancies and rent increases for the duration of the crisis;
  3. amendments to the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 to extend the time-periods under which a person who has been laid off or kept on short-time due to Covid-19 can claim a redundancy payment from their employer;
  4. a simplified restoration process to professional medical, nursing and other health professionals registers to facilitate the recruitment of retired health sector workers;
  5. amendments to the Mental Health Acts to protect the rights of patients and facilitate the ongoing operation of the Mental Health Tribunals through the crisis;
  6. amendments to the Defence Act 1954 to facilitate the re-enlistment of former enlisted members to fill certain critical positions within the Permanent Defence Force;
  7. certain deadlines under the Building Control Act 1990, the Derelict Sites Act 1990, the Planning and Development Act 2000, the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 and the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 to be set aside.  This is to avoid statutory deadlines being breached and the planning and building control systems being compromised in the event of further impacts of Covid-19 on the community or workforce;
  8. amendments to the civil registration acts for the duration of the crisis extending the functions of an tArd Chláraitheoir with the purpose of minimising the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

The Bill is available for download here together with the Explanatory Memorandum here.

See details on the progress of the bill here.

Irish Council for Civil Liberties statement on the Emergency Bill

ICCL supports the need for extraordinary governmental measures in these extraordinary times. However, we all need to be assured that when the emergency has passed this legislation, which foresees a significant interference with our rights, will also pass out of existence. And we need to know that there are safeguards to prevent abuse of the extraordinary powers which will be introduced by this legislation.

Read in full here