Government response to coronavirus will require bravery - IBEC Director General

Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys has said that the government will not be found wanting in providing the necessary supports to get businesses back up and running and people back to work following the impact of the coronavirus.

Government response to coronavirus will require bravery - IBEC Director General

Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Heather Humphreys has said that the government will not be found wanting in providing the necessary supports to get businesses back up and running and people back to work following the impact of the coronavirus.

It was not possible to put a figure on what will be required until the full impact on the economy of the virus had been determined, she told Newstalk Breakfast.

“This is an evolving situation.”

All necessary steps will be taken to get businesses back up and running and people back to work, she said.

“We have acted quickly and will continue to monitor the situation.”

When asked about calls for a halt to the payment of rates, Ms Humphreys urged businesses to pay rates if they could, but if they couldn’t they should talk to their local authority.

The government will take a common sense approach and local authorities will have to look at the situation “in a sensible way,” she said.

The number one priority is public health.

“We ask people to work with us and to work together on this.”

The country’s largest business organisation IBEC has said that the response to the coronavirus will require bravery from the government, but also from everyone in society.

IBEC Director General Danny McCoy told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that if an economic crisis were to happen, it is “potentially temporary”.

Policy mistakes must not be made in trying to treat any such crisis, he warned.

Governments around the world should do whatever it takes to provide temporary cover, he urged.

“If the pubs were to open again, the demand is there. It's not as if the demand has gone away, it's rationed at the moment.

"We need to protect the incomes of those who are losing their jobs, we need to protect businesses so that they can reopen.

It requires a community effort but it also requires the government stands ready to provide adequate cash liquidity into the system.

Mr McCoy said there needs to be a ‘freeze moment’ for the economy where it is put on lock down.

This will require some bravery from government, but also from everyone in society, he said.

"Ultimately this will have to be paid for, but that's for the future. Today is about preserving.

"Getting people isolated to make sure we get the virus under control, but then be ready with a package to get business and people back to work as quickly as possible.”

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