Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Ceisteanna (41)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

41. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of businesses that have taken up Brexit business supports such as the be prepared grants and Brexit readiness vouchers provided by Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland; and if she is satisfied that the level of business preparedness for Brexit is sufficient. [5955/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (3 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Business)

My Department has had extensive engagement with businesses to understand what they need to help them adapt to the challenges posed by Brexit, and to provide support for diversification, development and innovation.

My Department is putting in place a package of measures that will allow us to respond to the needs of businesses including a Brexit loan scheme to provide affordable financing to Irish firms impacted by Brexit - the scheme aims to make up to €300 million available to businesses with less than 500 employees at a proposed interest rate of approximately 4%; and developing proposals for a longer-term loan scheme together with a new business advisory hub service which would focus on business development to allow enterprises to position themselves for a post-Brexit environment. In addition, the EU Commission has approved a rescue and restructuring scheme and the scheme can be drawn on in exceptional circumstances for a company severely affected by Brexit. The Action Plan for Jobs will continue to act as an effective lever for driving reforms that enhance the competitiveness of Irish firms, increase jobs and grow the resilience of our economy in the context of Brexit.

I accept that there are time constraints but perhaps the Minister will come back to me with a fuller response. The question is about our preparedness for Brexit. The Minister can revert to me on the number of be prepared grants and Brexit readiness vouchers that have been given. How many Brexit scorecards have been filled out to date by companies and is the Minister satisfied that the uptake is sufficient? Does the Department, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland, ITI, have sufficient staff and is funding now in place for each of those bodies?

Additional resources have been provided to Enterprise Ireland and ITI to deal with Brexit. There are many supports available, especially through Enterprise Ireland. I encourage companies to engage with Enterprise Ireland and their local enterprise offices. Workshops are taking place across the country and there is a huge awareness campaign on the challenges facing companies due to Brexit. I ask companies to identify the risks that Brexit will present for them and to mitigate those risks.