Third Irish lockdown sees January unemployment soar to 25 per cent – dpa international


Shopping in a west of Ireland town after the end of Ireland's second lockdown in early December (Simon Roughneen)

Shopping in a west of Ireland town after the end of Ireland’s second lockdown in early December (Simon Roughneen)

DUBLIN — Ireland’s third lockdown has seen unemployment jump to 25 per cent in January, a 5.6 percentage point increase on December’s revised 19.4 per cent.

The government’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) said on Wednesday that “the Covid-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland.”

A second pandemic-related lockdown ended in early December after six weeks, only for a third national lockdown to be enforced at the end of the month after virus case numbers rose again.

Businesses that reopened during the brief inter-lockdown period, such as restaurants, were compelled to close again.

The 25-per-cent unemployment rate includes those whose businesses or offices have been closed due to the curbs and are getting the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Rregular unemployment would be 5.8 per cent, the CSO said, if those receiving pandemic-related payments were omitted.

The restrictions, which are scheduled to run until March 5, mean people are “required to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes.”

But they also say that people should work from home unless providing “essential services” that “cannot be done from home.”

Ireland’s Department of Health has recorded 3,418 coronavirus-related deaths, of which almost 1,600 have been in nursing homes, officials told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Later the same day, the department said it had been notified of a record 101 coronavirus-linked deaths over the previous 24 hours, though some of these occured on previous days.

Of Ireland’s almost 200,000 cases, around half were reported last month. Though daily numbers have since dropped sharply into to around one thousand, the country was for a time in January recording Europe’s most cases-per-million-people, according to a University of Oxford database.

There were 164,400 arrivals into Ireland by air and sea in December and almost 180,000 departures, the CSO announced last week. The numbers represented increases of 58.3 per cent and 84.4 per cent on November but were only slightly more than one-tenth of December 2019’s arrivals and departures, both of which reached nearly 1.4 million.

Ireland’s total arrivals and departures for 2020 were 4.5 million, far below the 20.1 million departures and 20.2 million arrivals counted the previous year.

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