Retailers forced into temporary closure are already defaulting on millions of euro in rent as the financial cost of Covid-19 mounts.
An association representing retailers has estimated that 80pc of commercial rents due on April 1 have not been met. A mass default in commercial rents will create a huge crisis for institutional and private landlords.
An unpublished letter from Retail Excellence to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, seen by the Sunday Independent, estimates just 20pc of commercial rents due in advance for the second quarter have been met.
Retail Excellence represents 2,000 retail companies, many of which are small businesses that have been badly affected by the State instructions to close their doors during the crisis.
Executives from Retail Excellence have warned the bosses of AIB and Bank of Ireland about the pending commercial rent crisis, according to the letter.
It put a proposal to Donohoe that the Government should intervene with a grant fund equal to 60pc of the commercial lease rent and service charge costs over the period of the emergency.
Under the group's plan, landlords would take a 20pc hit and commercial tenants would pay 20pc of the rent for the period.