Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly TD says the Government backed Brexit loan scheme needs to be competitive if it is to be successful in helping businesses to mitigate serious risks in the years ahead.

Deputy Donnelly made the comments as the loan scheme officially opened for applications today. He pointed out that the 4% interest rate associated with the scheme is double that of other EU countries such as France and Germany.

Deputy Donnelly said, “The fact that this scheme is now open to applications is a positive development. Fianna Fáil has been calling for a loan scheme to help businesses overcome the challenges associated with Brexit. It’s important that the Government does all it can to help businesses who are struggling at this difficult time.

“Previous experience has shown us that loan schemes need to be competitive if they are to be successful. I do have concerns regarding the high interest rate that is associated with this scheme. Businesses that apply for a loan under this scheme can expect to pay a 4% interest rate. This compares to an interest rate of 2% in France and Germany.
“The whole purpose of this scheme is to help Irish businesses gain a competitive edge. How can this be achieved when the interest rate attached to the loan scheme is double that of other EU countries? The Government is putting relatively little money into the scheme as it is leveraged by the European Investment Bank. There should be scope to reduce the 4% interest rate.

“The duration of the loans is also problematic. The loan scheme only lasts for four years, despite the fact that research has shown that businesses could have to live with the fallout associated with Brexit for a decade or longer.

“The establishment of this loan scheme is a positive development, but shortcomings with its implementation need to be addressed.”