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John Drennan: Kenny insists tackling credit drought for SMEs is priority

Ireland's ongoing credit drought for small businesses is so severe public representatives are now raising cases directly with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The level of political concern on the issue is so acute that Mr Kenny has pledged to swiftly implement new legislation to "compel the banks to reveal what new credit they release on a monthly basis''.

But in the wake of representations made by the Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames about the struggles of a Galway-based high-technology company to secure affordable financing, the Taoiseach pledged that a bill dealing with this issue was a government priority.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, meanwhile, Ms Healy Eames slammed the ongoing "un-patriotic'' actions of banks that are failing to invest in viable Irish companies.

Ms Healy Eames was referring to the scenario where a company with export orders of €4.5m is being refused the credit it needs from the banks to fulfil the order.

The FG senator said: "this is an ongoing successful company which already employs 50 people and is in a position to employ eight further people, but it can't get the finance needed from the bank to purchase the equipment that is required to deliver the project."

In an interview with the Sunday Independent the MD of the company, which did not want to be named for reasons of confidentiality, said the inability of his company to secure loans "was another example of how the Irish banks are simply not open for business''.

Intriguingly, the owner of the company, which is currently profitable, noted that "all of my competitors are making the same point about credit availability''.

He said that "in the current Irish banking system, credit is something that is only available for multinational companies".

Sunday Independent