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Irish COVID-19 jobless claims up 21% on new restrictions

FILE PHOTO: Houses are seen behind a sign for a closed main walkway amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Galway, Ireland, October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The number of people in Ireland claiming temporary coronavirus-related jobless benefits rose by 21% to 295,860 after the country moved to the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions last week, data showed on Tuesday.

The closing of non-essential retail and limiting of restaurants to takeaway service for six weeks from last Wednesday pushed claims to the highest since late July, though they remain far below the peak of 600,000 in early May.

The government has estimated that around 150,000 people will be temporarily laid off due to the tighter restrictions, on top of the 40,000 let go in the previous two weeks, which analysts say will push the unemployment rate back above 20%.

The state is separately subsidising the wages of around 340,000 workers.

Reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Jan Harvey