Should we even consider incurring economic costs of another shutdown?

Businesses need to know what the overall strategy is. We can’t be waiting to find out every Friday

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: he said the pandemic is close to having us shut down the country again.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly: he said the pandemic is close to having us shut down the country again. Photograph: Tom Honan

There are some things you want to avoid reading. But like heading into the next chapter of a Stephen King novel, or turning the page on some dark Scandinavian thriller already littered with too many bodies, sometimes it has to be done. And so I have started looking back at the chapters in the documents published by the various forecasting bodies outlining the more pessimistic scenarios if the Covid-19 virus lingers and further lockdowns occur.

The main forecasting agencies – the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, the ESRI and the Central Bank – have all looked at a range of different scenarios for the economy over the next few years. So far most of the focus has been on forecasts which see the economy gradually completing its reopening over the coming months, leading to relatively strong growth in 2021. It led to hopes of a Nike swoosh-shaped recovery, a sharp downturn followed by steady, if slow, progress.

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