The number of people in Ireland claiming temporary coronavirus-related jobless benefits fell by a further 7% this week, though the reprieve looked short-lived for many with the government planning another shutdown of hospitality after Christmas.
Some 278,000 people will receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week, data showed on Monday. That means half of the roughly 150,000 people temporarily laid off after Ireland began to tighten COVID-19 curbs from September have returned to work since the constraints were lifted this month.
The social protection department said another 16,600 people will receive their final payment this week, having indicated they are returning to work. The government has said it will decide on Tuesday how long to shut restaurants and pubs down for after Christmas with COVID-19 cases rising sharply again.