All measures must be taken to protect businesses impacted by COVID-19 – Troy

Published on: 18 April 2020

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Robert Troy, has said that no measures should be off the table when it comes to protecting businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Deputy Troy said the €1bn package of supports announced for businesses is welcome but that there were still avenues yet to be pursued to insulate businesses from the brutal impact of COVID-19.

He said, “We must further avail of new State Aid rules to support small businesses and ease liquidity issues as they arise. I’ve long called for cash grants for affected businesses as have been deployed in other EU countries. This is a sure fire way of getting much needed funds to businesses most in need without a debt requirement.

“We also need to see an exemption of commercial rates for small or medium sized businesses who have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 this year. There should be a mechanism established for commercial landlords and tenants to negotiate the terms of their lease.  

“There is an urgent need to extend the examinership protection window for COVID-19 impacted businesses on a temporary basis. I submitted amendments to the emergency COVID-19 legislation calling for such an extension but unfortunately these were not accepted. 

“Such an extension would allow companies the breathing room necessary to return to business activity when economic health has improved.

“As it stands the successful petition for an examinership is predicated on an independent expert’s opinion as to whether the company would have a reasonable prospect of survival.

“Upon being presented with the petition, the Court can place the company under protection from its creditors, initially for 70 days and extendable to 100 days.

“While that period of time is sufficient under normal circumstances – these are not normal circumstances, and no one can say when the crisis measures, which are severely restricting economic activity, may be eased.

“I believe that a temporary extension of the current window should be examined during which return to economic health is expected,” he concluded.