Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that the Government has expanded the eligibility criteria for the €5 million fund for small businesses to include businesses not subject to commercial rates.
“The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, TD has announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the €5 million fund for small businesses, to allow non-rateable businesses to benefit from it.
“This humanitarian relief scheme which is being administered by the Irish Red Cross, was designed to be light on bureaucracy from the beginning in order to ensure we could get payments out to flood affected businesses as quickly as possible. In order to get the payments out efficiently, local Authorities could vouch for businesses subject to commercial rates.
“Unfortunately this meant that a number of businesses not subject to commercial rates were left out of the loop. I have dealt with many of these businesses in Athlone and across Westmeath and t heir situation had been made even more distressing, as up to recently, they did not qualify for the €5 million Irish Red Cross emergency funding. I have consistently called on Minister Coveney to ensure that these businesses can be included in the fund as they so badly need this assistance to clean up the damage and get up and running again.
“I am delighted that Minister Coveney has now confirmed that in the case of businesses which are not in a premises subject to commercial rates, the applicant can supply a tax clearance certificate to the Irish Red Cross, or where this is not available, recent correspondence from Revenue showing a tax registration number.
“Having been heavily involved helping flood affected people in Carrick-on-brien, I was pleased to be in a position to invite Minister Coveney, among other Ministers, to see for himself the devastation caused to businesses and homes by the flooding.
“Only by bringing a Government Minister to an affected area can you articulate the concerns of local communities directly to the Minister and I am really delighted that Minister Coveney has now extended this emergency funding scheme to these businesses.
“The Minister has also extended the closing date for acceptance of completed application forms to February 21st and I urge affected businesses to have applications in before the date so they won’t miss out.
“Some local politicians have said recently that no-one would get any money from these Government humanitarian schemes, so I am pleased that this is and will not be the case.”