Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has said the latest SME funding initiative is an admission by the Government that its approach to the crisis to date has not worked.

“The announcement today that the NPRF is now being used to provide funding for SMEs is an acceptance by the Government that banks are not fulfilling their requirements in this regard,” said Deputy Calleary.

“While I welcome any initiative to support SMEs, I find it bizarre that instead of the Government using its teeth to insist that the state owned banks play ball, the NPRF is now being drafted in.  SME lending was traditionally the bread and butter for banks and the Government needs to push for a return to a functioning relationship between the banking sector and business.

“Unfortunately, small businesses across the country are weary of ‘initiatives’ at this point.  We have had nearly two years of announcements, plans, commitments and initiatives on this issue over the past two years, but all of this has made very little difference to these businesses. 

“Despite all the rhetoric from Fine Gael and their PR machine working in overdrive, SMEs have yet to see any benefit.  I sincerely hope that this year marks a much-needed new direction from the Government in addressing the ongoing funding crisis in the sector.”