Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White has called on the government to address the unsatisfactory early figures for Microfinance Ireland.

The scheme was launched on October 1 2012 by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton as an initiative to aid microenterprises through the availability of loans from €2,000 up to €25,000.

Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator White described the scheme’s recent figures as “disappointing”.

“Minister Bruton revealed that the early results of the Microfinance fund show an approval rate of just 40% and just over €1 million in loans have been granted to small businesses.

“The approval rates under his system are simply not good enough.

“Small businesses are enduring a credit famine and we must endeavour to support them in order to encourage growth in the economy.

“It now appears that the scheme’s initial target of granting €90 million in loans over a ten year period is very unlikely to be met.

“This is an example of a further attempt by Minister Bruton and his department to spin facts and figures in their favour.

“Minister Bruton has promised action and I want to see results,” concluded Senator White.