Coronavirus: Dáil passes €3.7bn emergency legislation

By Joel Slattery

The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill has been passed in the Dáil without a requirement for a final vote.

The legislation will now be debated by the Seanad on Friday.

It was passed just over an hour after it was announced that the number of deaths in Ireland from Covid-19 more than doubled to 19.

On the island of Ireland, there are now over 2,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

The Bill addresses resources within six departments, including housing and health, passed in the Dail close to 10.30pm on Thursday night.

The legislation before the Oireachtas aims to protect tenants and includes a €3.7bn aid package that will see the government contribute to wage packets.

The emergency measures are part of a major effort by government to mitigate the social effects of Covid-19 and the economic consequences of the virus.

A reduced number of TDs participated in the marathon session on Thursday, as members followed social-distancing advice by sitting two seats apart.

Mr Varadkar said the emergency legislation is a response to an “unprecedented emergency”.

“Unfortunately we cannot stop this virus but working together we can slow it in its tracks and push it back,” he said.

“Our national objective must be to flatten the curve.

“We can succeed if everyone takes sustained action. Nothing less will do.”

- Additional reporting Cate McCurry and David Young, PA