Dáil meeting today to pass emergency coronavirus bill - which includes €3.7 billion social welfare package
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Dáil meeting today to pass emergency coronavirus bill - which includes €3.7 billion social welfare package

THE Dáil is set to meet today to officially push through a number of emergency laws needed to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill is aiming to reduce the spread of the disease and mitigate the adverse economic consequences it has created.

The huge bill, which was revealed by the government earlier this week, includes a €3.7 billion social welfare package which guarantees payments to those who lose their job due to the crisis.

Also included are new laws which would see temporarily bans on evictions and rent increases.

Sterner health measures are also to be looked into, while restaurants are likely to be given license to turn themselves into takeaways in order to stay afloat.

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All stages of the omnibus bill are expected to pass during the 10-hour sitting.

Ordinarily, the massive piece of legislation would take weeks or even months to be processed through, but the coronavirus crisis has made the situation urgent.

There will be a reduced attendance in order for TDs to adhere to social distancing.

The Dáil is also due to elect a Leas Ceann Comhairle - likely to be Independent TD Denis Naughten.

These may be the last laws the Oireachtas can pass for some time.

The Ceann Comhairle has warned it will lose the power to legislate from midnight on Sunday.

The new Seanad will be elected next week - but won't be able to sit until there is a new government, putting extra pressure on the efforts from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to form one.

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