Employers group Ibec has said that continued uncertainty about when the economy will fully re-open will trigger redundancy conversations in many companies. 

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy said that Government support schemes were designed for a fixed time and now need to be scaled and extended. 

He said that supports for mid sized and large businesses are not enough as a more extended lockdown continues, adding that there is a  need to "bridge the gap" now before the impact of vaccinations is felt. 

He said the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) is capped at €5,000 a week, which is not enough to sustain larger businesses. 

Mr McCoy said there may be some "rogue people" going to work when it is not essential, but most people working in office environments are complying with the work from home directive. 

The Ibec boss said that while Government messaging has been "chaotic", people needed to support the Government's efforts.

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Meanwhile, Tom Parlon, the Director General of Construction Industry Federation, said that construction is fully open in other jurisdictions including the UK, Europe and the US and he hopes common sense will prevail in Ireland. 

Tom Parlon said decisions to close the sector should be evidence based, pointing out that construction has been open for nine months and there have been "minimal cases". 

Mr Parlon said 40% of sites have been open since January and just 42 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded on them by the HSE.  

He said that protection measures have been put in place on construction sites and frustration with the situation is now "boiling over".

The CIF boss said that there has been very serious weathering of sites since January 6, adding that deterioration and other costs will need to be considered. 

He warned that there will be serious layoffs and redundancies in the industry, adding that many firms are "burning cash week in, week out" with no end in sight.

Mr Parlon said he is hearing anecdotally that many construction workers are "out doing nixers", which he said "is a hell of a lot less safe than if they were on a site".

Workers are also leaving Ireland "in droves" to take up work in Europe, where they are badly needed, he added.