Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said the budget deficit this year will now be €23 billion, up approximately €1.25 billion on the figure outlined in last week's Budget.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, the Minister said this will still be within the guide range published earlier this year. 

The increase reflects the anticipated €2 billion spend over the next six weeks on several income and business support schemes as Level 5 restrictions come into play. 

This will mean that GDP is expected to decline this year by 3.5%, a further 1% decline on the forecast released at Budget time. 

Mr Donohoe said that the enhanced Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is expected to cost €105m a week, the new Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) €80m a week and the PUP €135m a week. 

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said the enhanced PUP will be given at its current rate until January when it will then be reviewed.  

The Minister for Finance confirmed the enhanced EWSS will also continue until January. 

However, he said that if the restrictions are successful in tackling the spread of the virus, the EWSS will 'revert' back to the standard rates.  

He also said the new CRSS will be run on a self-assessment basis and will be open to all businesses which are impacted by the new Covid-19 restrictions. The Minister for Finance urged companies to register with Revenue as early as possible. 

Mr Donohoe also said the appropriate course of action on loan and mortgages repayments now for those in financial difficulty is that they are handled on a case by case basis by lenders - based on the different needs borrowers have.

All three ministers defended the principle of introducing fines for house parties, which the Cabinet approved today.

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said that "reckless behaviour can mean extended restrictions for everybody", adding that fines in this context "is the right thing to do". 

Additional reporting from Will Goodbody