Farm Ireland
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Monday 18 February 2019

'Alarming' that only 8 food companies approved for Brexit loan scheme funding

Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue
Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Only eight food companies have been approved for Brexit loan scheme funding announced in October 2017, according to Fianna Fail spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

He described the figures as "alarming" and said that 61 days away from the March 29 deadline for the UK to exit the EU, it's "unbelievable that the Government’s much vaunted Brexit working capital loan scheme announced in October 2017 is failing to deliver for Ireland’s most exposed sector".

The Departments of Business and Agriculture have jointly leveraged exchequer funding to create a €300m loan scheme for businesses impacted by Brexit, with 40pc of the fund ring-fenced for the food sector, he said.

"However, latest Parliamentary Question replies released to me show that out of 42 eligible applications for food companies, just eight have been sanctioned for finance under this loan scheme. Shockingly, this means that just one in five eligible loan applications for the sector have actually been approved for funding worth €3.8m."

He said this equates to just over 1pc of the total €300m loan having been approved for food companies so far.

"This is another example the Government failing to operationalise supports and contingencies that work seamlessly for exposed businesses as opposed to being administratively burdensome.

“Given how the food sector has almost 80pc of its employment based outside of Dublin, any impact from Brexit will have strong regional employment consequences. Minister Creed and his government colleagues must now immediately seek market disturbance supports along with state aid rule changes in order to operationalise grant aided schemes to support farmers and the agri-food sector. Waiting to close the stable door after the horse has bolted is not a prudent approach”, he said.

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