Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said that the latest interventions the government has announced to respond to Covid-19 can be maintained and "we can afford them". 

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, Mr Donohoe said these commitments are aimed at restoring the economy. 

Mr Donohoe did not clarify how long the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment would remain in place.

He said he will be having talks with the Taoiseach over the next few weeks and that they will be "having to make decisions about getting the balance right."

He said they have to take into account that there would have been many people unemployed before Covid-19 hit, receiving jobseeker allowance and other forms of social welfare and income support. 

"What we need to ensure is that as we emerge from this disease, we don't end up with one group who are receiving a set of payments that they got before this disease hit, another group who are receiving the unemployment payment, and a third group who might become unemployed at some point in the future even if this disease has changed," he said.

The minister said a week ago the Government put in place a set of changes to improve the scheme for those on low income and they are now moving to get the balance right again, and said he is confident they will be able to do that.  

He said one of the other issues that needs to be discussed and debated over the next while is state support for businesses.

"The government is taking a cautious approach and the bedrock of economic confidence will be confidence of public health."

He acknowledged that legislation will need to be enacted for some of the measures within the €6.5 billion support schemes, with as much as €4bn unable to be rolled out.