A scheme has opened for the families of healthcare workers who died after contracting Covid-19 in the course of their work.

Since the start of the pandemic, 23 healthcare workers have died after contracting Covid-19.

Under the terms of the scheme, a tax-free payment of €100,000 will be made to the estate of any healthcare worker who died in this manner.

All healthcare workers deemed to be 'essential' during the first phases of the pandemic are included.

This includes healthcare workers such as GPs, administrative staff, disability services staff and private staff in nursing homes.

Applications for the Death in Service scheme will be made through Pobal.

In a statement, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: "Myself and my colleagues in Government are aware of tragic cases where families have been left without income at a time of extraordinary grief.

"This payment offers some support from the State to provide for the family’s needs, while also serving as a real acknowledgement of the debt of gratitude all of us across the country feel to the extraordinary sacrifices of their loved ones."