More than 58,000 have applied for the emergency COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Minister says her department has never seen a challenge like this before

Social Welfare office Donegal Town

COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment forms at Donegal Town branch office

More than 58,000 people have applied for the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment since it was announced last week.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said 20,000 applications were made on Friday alone.

Countless people have been laid off as many businesses closed or cut back services due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday afternoon, Minister Doherty thanked people for their patience, adding: "We have never experienced a challenge like we have in the last few days."

She said that as many people were applying for payments in the last three days as had during the recession of 2008 and 2009.

The minister announced measures to ease pressure on the system and assist social distancing.

One of these measures is to change weekly payments to a fortnightly system. More details are being made available on the website of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

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