A dead Main St Portlaoise during the Covid-19 lockdown
Hundreds of thousands of Euro in public money has made its way to businesses in Laois to help them reboot after the Covid-19 pandemic crash.
With many firms availing of the employment assistance fund and other schemes, a total of €633,402 extra has been approved and paid out to Laois businesses under the Government’s Restart Grant to aid reopening after COVID-19, Laois/Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan has said.
Dep Flanagan said the Government’s Restart Grant involves direct grant aid to micro and small businesses of between €2,000 and €10,000, to help with the costs associated with reopening and re-employing workers following COVID-19 closures.
“Business owners and their staff have been through incredibly difficult times recently and it is so welcome that the Government is doing everything possible to support them to open up again.
“This work was begun by Fine Gael in the last government and it is welcome that the new Government is prioritising the recovery from the economic shock of Covid-19. They are working to repair the damage that has been done, and restore confidence and prosperity. Small businesses will play a huge role in that as they are the lifeblood of the local economy," he said.
He said the Council has had an important role to play.
“The Restart Grant is being rolled out through the Local Authorities across the country so Laois County Council has a crucial role here.
“Impacted firms that are in rateable premises can apply to Laois County Council for grant support of between €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000 equivalent to their rates bill of 2019.
“The application form for the Restart Grant is available on the Council’s website. I encourage all micro and small business owners in Laois to take a look at the website and apply for the grant to help them get back on their feet after COVID-19,” he said.
The former minister said the targeted supports that have been developed by the Department in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, will be available to companies of including micro-enterprises, SMEs, and sectors most exposed with a focus on food, manufacturing and internationally traded services including exporters and importers.
He said the money comes on top of a range of other supports for businesses to help them through the pandemic. He said the July Jobs Initiative, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will help to bolster our economy and get people back to work as quickly as possible. He said it would enhance and add to the existing measures totalling €12 billion in supports for Covid-19 impacted businesses already announced.
He added that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced that 183 retailers have been approved for €6.5 million in funding as part of the Online Retail Scheme, which is targeted at online retailers to strengthen their online offering and enable them to reach a wider customer base.
Other measures listed by Minister Flanagan include the Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), liquidity supports such as 0% finance for 6 months from MicroFinance Ireland, rates waivers from local authorities and the warehousing of tax liabilities of SMEs by Revenue.