Limerick firms, hit by Covid-19 get new supports

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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Limerick firms, hit by Covid-19 get new supports

Patrick O’Donovan and his colleague Kieran O'Donnell had good news for businesses and employees this week PICTURE: ADRIAN BUTLER

LOCAL Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan says a major expansion of supports for coronavirus-hit businesses will be of  huge benefit to Limerick during the lockdown.

Local firms have taken a battering as all but non-essential companies have been forced to cease trading temporarily because of the spread of  the virus.

There are some fears many pubs in particular may never open again.

But, Mr O’Donovan says the government is trying to soften the blow with a package worth €1bn in liquidity measures to meet the “unprecedented difficulties” posed by the virus, which continues to devastate Ireland and the rest of the world.

“An additional €450m of lending will be provided through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) for SMEs in all sectors including agri-food. This will provide much needed liquidity for firms and brings the total SBCI COVID-19 lending capacity to €650 million, with loans being made available through the pillar banks,” Mr O'Donovan said, “These measures are in addition to the €150m of funding capacity in the Government’s Credit Guarantee Scheme, which I would encourage businesses in Limerick to avail of.”

In the manufacturing and international services sectors sectors, which employ 460,000 people across Ireland, a new Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180m has also been announced.It’s aimed at all firms with 10 or more staff impacted by Covid-19.

The fund will be operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules and should see up to €500m of additional investment in vulnerable but viable firms.  These grants will only be repayable if and when a business returns to financial good health.

Mr O’Donovan added: “Minister Humphreys has also increased support for two trading online initiatives to a total of €7.6 million – the first for small businesses in partnership with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, and the second for retailers with over 10 employees.”

“These supports will help businesses sell their products online at a time when so many retail outlets remain closed and require a much needed boost in revenue.”

Meanwhile his colleague Limerick TD Kieran O’Donnell TD has welcomed the announcement by Government of changes and enhancements to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

These changes mean that more employees will now receive a subsidy of €350 per week, and those with previous net pay below €412 per week will now receive a greater level of subsidy at 85% of net wages rather than 70% as previously applied. These changes will apply for payroll with a pay date on or after May 4 and received by the Revenue Commissioners on or after that date.

“I welcome the changes and enhancements announced today by Government in respect of the Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme. In summary this ensure that all employees on below €412 a week net will receive a subsidy of 85% of their net wages, up from 70% and also ensures that all employees are now eligible under this scheme.

“I would encourage local employers whose businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 to avail of this Government Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. I fully understand the financial difficulties and worries this Pandemic is causing for viable businesses and their employees. This is an emergency wage support scheme.”

designed to support employee wages, whilst maintaining the link between employer and employee as well as ensuring that businesses can survive and come through this COVID-19 induced economic downturn period.