Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said no decision has been made yet on extending the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment beyond 8 June.  

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Donohoe said he recognises the strain and worry that many people are under, adding that he wants to assure them that "we're going to do what we can to keep the jobs we have". 

He said the Government is evaluating what it might be able to afford in the future and what happens with employment levels in Phase One of easing Covid-19 restrictions, which is due to begin on 18 May. 

The minister said that we have to get our country back to work.  

Mr Donohoe said he understands the concerns people have, but said the schemes are costing hundreds of millions of euro per week and "we want to get the balance right". 

The effect of the reopening of the economy from next week will dictate how the Government will manage the emergency welfare supports going forward, he said.

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will continue to preserve people's income and jobs, he added. 

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He said the Government will look to evaluate what it can afford in the future when it sees what movement happens between people on the PUP who go back to work and move onto the TWSS. 

Mr Donohoe also said the Government believes it can get people back to work while continuing efforts to contain Covid-19, but said that risks will remain.

Mr Donohoe said that engagement with stakeholders to explain the risks and work to implement safety guidelines is key, as well as having a phased re-opening of the economy to give time to understand the impact on public health of the decisions that are being made. 

He said the health of construction workers is vital and the Government has engaged intensively with the construction industry to ensure there is clarity about the new guidelines so they can have confidence they will be implemented and can be monitored in the coming weeks.