Tens of thousands of people may struggle to claim redundancy payments because of significant issues with the liquidation process due to the coronavirus restrictions.
In recent days, the Irish Society of Insolvency Practitioners (ISIP) wrote to members to outline concerns about a range of statutory insolvency issues such as creditors' meetings.
The council of the ISIP said it would "strongly urge its members not to schedule such meetings unless there is an urgent need to do so".
The process will be further hampered as the High Court is currently not taking cases so there are no mechanisms for liquidations to occur. As the law stands these steps must happen if employees are to get their statutory redundancy payments. Declan de Lacy of accountancy firm PKF O'Connor Leddy and Holmes said: "I have a case which was listed for the 30th of this month where I would have been appointed liquidator and I have one next Monday. Both of those winding-up petitions now won't be heard."
De Lacy said the coronavirus meant that a significant increase in liquidations was likely.
The usual route to winding up an insolvent company is for the shareholders to pass a winding-up resolution and to call a meeting of the company's creditors, to be held on the same day.
"It is theoretically possible to commence a voluntary winding-up without a creditors' meeting," he said.
"But the area is fraught with difficulty and directors need to be extremely cautious to avoid committing offences under the Companies Act," De Lacy added.
The less common route to winding up an insolvent company is to petition the High Court for a winding-up order.
However, in response to the pandemic, the Courts Service has announced that almost no matters will be heard until at least April 20, 2020.
He said employees will be unable to access the insolvency payments funds operated by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection until firms commence to be formally wound up.
"They are just not going to be able to receive their redundancy money for a longer period," he added.
In 2010, 1,258 companies went into liquidation by way of creditors' voluntary liquidations, and 128 went into liquidation by way of petition to the court.
In 2018, the most recent period for which figures are available, there were 418 creditors' voluntary liquidations and 59 court liquidations.
"It had dropped by about a third of the level it was at," De Lacy said.
The number is expected to rise again.
Sunday Indo Business