The coronavirus shock to the economy appears to be coming harder and faster than expected as almost 400,000 workers have already signed up for emergency wage support payments from the Government.
ust last week, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) estimated 300,000 workers will have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic lockdown by the end of June and that, as a result, the economy would shrink by just over 7pc this year.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said 389,000 people had applied for the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment, and payments have now been issued to 283,000 of them.
The Government started putting the scheme in place on March 15, just over two weeks ago.
Job losses on this scale will wipe out all of the gains made in the labour market since the end of the financial crisis and will punch a big hole in Government finances.
It could also lead to "predatory foreign regimes" buying up key assets on the cheap, according to a warning from Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath, who called for the State to emulate crisis legislation brought in by Spain to prevent this from happening.
The financial crisis resulted in fire sales that allowed foreign investors to snap up assets here cheaply as the government struggled with a rising deficit and hefty debts.
The ESRI study calculated the Government would end with a budget deficit of almost €13bn this year.
The State is still lumbered with €200bn of debt from the crash.
The ESRI calculations were based on work and movement restrictions being in place over a period of 12 weeks.
At the weekend, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tightened those rules further and said the harsher lockdown would remain in place until April 12.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a body which represents the world's developed economies, issued its economic estimates yesterday, which put the losses to the Irish economy at 15pc of gross domestic product.
That was the lowest estimate of losses for any of the OECD's 36 member states, but it also warned the figures were likely to be revised.
The pandemic has already cut a swathe through Europe's businesses as the likes of carmaker Volkswagen have shuttered plants.
Data released by the European Commission yesterday showed that in March, economic sentiment across the bloc had registered its biggest fall since records began.
The monthly survey of business confidence plunged by 8.2pc to a level of 94.8, the lowest since the series started in 1985.
The spread of coronavirus across the globe has been matched by a steady erosion in assessments of economic growth and the assumption that once the outbreak had been contained everything would return to normal is now being questioned.
The ESRI forecasts, for example, assumed economic activity both domestically and internationally would begin to recover significantly in the third and fourth quarters of this year - a so-called V-shaped recovery in which there was a rapid bounce-back.
That narrative is now being questioned and that is especially important for Ireland, where a small economy is highly dependent on international trade in goods and services, and on tourism.
Tourism, which has been wiped out by movement restrictions, accounts for 10.3pc of employment here compared with 6.9pc on average in the OECD.
"But if virus fears and months of lockdowns reduce people's willingness to travel abroad, then the tourism and air transport industries will suffer from weaker demand even after the recession is over," said Simon MacAdam, global economist at Capital Economics.
While some Irish exports such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices may see greater than expected growth as a result of the health crisis, other areas may be more vulnerable.