The IRFU has said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a redundancy programme that will see up to 20 non-playing members of staff lose their jobs. 

Last October the union revealed a deficit of €35.7m with chief executive Philip Browne warning that the professional game in this country could go to the wall this year if supporters continue to be locked out of stadiums. 

The job losses - both voluntary and compulsory - will impact administrative and performance staff.

The departing employees account for approximately 10% of the union's staff. 

The IRFU say the redundancies are linked to the continued impact of the pandemic. 

"Unfortunately the IRFU has had to operate a redundancy programme due to the ongoing financial constraints on the organisation due to Covid-19," a spokesperson told RTÉ Sport. 

The IRFU reduced staff costs by 20% by reducing all non-performance staff to a four-day week last summer and introducing pay deferrals and other reductions for playing staff.

In March, Browne said the union is expecting a €29m loss for 2021 and working off the assumption that behind-closed-doors rugby will continue into 2022

"Our working assumption is that we won’t see crowds of any significant numbers in our ground until 2022. Maybe we are being prudent, but I think it is realistic. That is an informed assumption," he said. 

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple PodcastsSoundcloudSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow Wales v Ireland (5pm, Saturday) via our live blog on RTE.ie and the RTÉ News app or watch live on RTÉ2 or RTÉ Player, listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.

Follow Exeter v Leinster (5.30pm, Saturday) via our live blog on RTE.ie and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.