My Department has been working closely with the Commission and DG Competition since November 2017 through the Irish/EU Technical Working Group on State Aid. The objective of the Group is to scope and design schemes to support enterprises impacted by Brexit in line with State Aid rules. Much has been achieved by this Working Group. It has examined and explored a range of opportunities within State Aid rules including the development of the Future Growth Loan Scheme under GBER rules, the expansion of Ireland’s Rescue and Restructuring Scheme to include Temporary liquidity aid. The work of the group has facilitated the maximum utilization of the State aid framework - supporting EI in providing €74 million in grants to Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.
On 24th January 2019, I met with the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager. The focus of the meeting centered around the severe challenges that Irish businesses will face when the UK leaves the EU and the need for appropriate and timely State supports. It was agreed that Irish officials will continue to work closely with the Commissioner's team in addressing any State aid issues that may arise to ensure a rapid and appropriate response as the ultimate shape of Brexit and its firm-level implication become known. The Commissioner emphasized that the Commission stands ready to act urgently in mitigation against the impacts of Brexit on Irish firms.