Billy Kelleher, MEP for Munster and parts of Leinster.
Fianna Fáil MEP for Munster and parts of Leinster Billy Kelleher has welcomed the decision of the European Commission to approve a €200 million Irish government scheme to support the economy and jobs during the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Kelleher, who represents Laois and Offaly, was speaking following the granting of an exemption under State Aid rules that will allow the Irish government support companies that will lose at least 15% of their turnover by means of repayable advances.
The scheme will apply to Irish companies employing 10 or more employees in Ireland in certain manufacturing or internationally traded sectors.
“This is a common sense decision by the EU Commission. While in general the EU seeks to avoid national governments funding businesses to maintain a level playing field, there is scope during crises such as the current Covid-19 one for such support to be allowed.
“The ultimate goal for all of us is to maintain jobs and protect the economy. At a time like this, we do need direct intervention in the economy.
“These strong measures taken now will ensure that the Irish economy comes out of this crisis in the best possible shape with as many people in employment as possible.
“I hope to see more requests from the Irish government to the Commission for State Aid exemptions. The Commission has committed to making decisions as quickly as possible. This request was made on March 26th and approved by March 30th. The EU is ready and willing to assist Ireland and other member states to project jobs,” concluded Mr Kelleher.