Market overview

Ireland is currently working through an exit strategy from COVID-19 restrictions, with the majority of restrictions having been lifted and shops able to reopen.

It is hoped that the Irish economy will soon be almost fully reopened with all sectors returning to work.

You can read more about the Government's plan for reopening the country and business on their website here.

For more information on doing business in Ireland, visit myNZTE - our free online portal for curated, in-depth information and guidance.   

Resources for Ireland

Export support
Last updated: 19 Jun 2020
COVID-19 Market Realities: Ireland Dairy / Agribusiness, 18 June

NZTE's Alex Gowen speaks with Irish Farmers Journal Dairy Editor Aidan Brennan about developments in Ireland's dairy sector. Published 18 June 2020.

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Economy and trade

Like other markets, some of the most exposed sectors in Ireland include retail, hospitality and construction.

However, a large proportion of workers in the financial services sector have been able to switch to remote working. This is important for the Irish economy, as professional, financial and support services account for over 40 percent of Irish GDP.

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) estimates that GDP in Ireland could decline by 8.3% in 2020.

Supply chain, freight & logistics

Ireland's ports are open and operating as usual and while they have seen a reduction in throughput, this is due to decreased demand rather than any capacity issues at the ports.

Government support

The Irish Government has launched a package of support measures for businesses affected by COVID-19.

  • €200 million in funding available for eligible impacted businesses under the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Covid-19 Working Capital Loan scheme. Loans up to €1.5 million will be available with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. The maximum interest rate for these loans is 4% and loans are for terms of up to 3 years. Businesses can apply via the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland's website. Details about the eligibility of this scheme are being finalised and the website will be updated accordingly.

  • Wage subsidy scheme – The government will pay 70% of employee wages for businesses that have seen a 25% or greater decline in turnover (up to €410 per week) for 12 weeks from 26 March. More information and eligibility details are available here.

  • Enterprise Ireland has introduced a €200 million Package for Enterprise Supports, including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure their business.

  • As of 20 March, commercial rates payments will be deferred for the most immediately impacted businesses (such as retail, leisure, hospitality) for three months until the end of May. This will be implemented by each local authority in its own area. You can read more about this deferral here.

  • Unsecured funding for SMEs of up to €1 million is available for terms of up to 7 years under the Credit Guarantee Scheme. Loans are available from AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

  • A Short Time Work Support is available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as an income support payment to help employers and employees during periods of temporary difficulty.

  • Business Continuity Voucher – Ireland's Local Enterprise Offices are providing Business Continuity Vouchers worth up to €2,500, designed for businesses in all sectors that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is for third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies to develop strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week for all employees who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available here.

Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Offices provide a number of other business-related support, grants and funds to help companies with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and improve competitiveness.


Ireland continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, which includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland (some exceptions exist). You can stay up to date with Ireland's travel advice on their government website here.

Advice to exporters

In terms of immediate activity, make the safety and wellbeing of teams your priority, and invest as needed to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. Many businesses are still allowing employees to work from home where this is possible. Check in with your business partners and see how they are doing and how you might be able to support them during this time.

Sector insights: farming

In August, MFAT and NZTE created a report on the impact of COVID-19 on Irish farming. The report notes that:

  • Regional lockdown restrictions introduced on 7 August in three mid-land counties were linked to a further outbreak of COVID-19 associated with meat processing factories in the region, putting further pressure on Ireland’s beef sector.

  • Opportunities remain for New Zealand agritech and agribusiness to export solutions such as genetics, machinery and digital solutions for Irish farmers, with a growing trend of Irish farmers looking to convert to dairy farming.

Business operations

The Irish Government has provided guidance to employers on COVID-19, available online here. The Government is urging employers to support their employees and continue to pay those who cannot attend work.

The Government has introduced an Employer Refund Scheme for companies that are not able to make a wage payment to staff. Companies are asked to keep their employees on the payroll and pay them an amount of €203. Revenue will refund this payment. Read more about this scheme here.

Income supports exist for employees for any COVID-19 related absence or temporary lay-off from work.

Enterprise Ireland has published a Business Continuity Checklist for businesses preparing for COVID-19 that covers business issues to address, measures to underpin continuity, and how to respond to workplace risks.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.