IEA COVID-19 update from the Government Departments

The IEA quickly adapted the 2020 Export Series of events,  in association with Rhenus Logistics IrelandIarnród Éireann – Irish Rail and media partner Fleet Transport Magazine, to address members COVID-19 concerns. The IEA would like to thank all the Government departments that have given their time to go through the various supports and schemes that have been rolled over the past few weeks. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have all been on hand to explain how the various Departments are dealing with COVID-19.

The Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport participated in a webinar on 27th  March to go through measures taken to improve the movement of the supply chain under the restrictions. A Department official commented on the fact that all links in the supply chain are essential “it is essential that the work of the supply chain continues to the greatest extent possible. Where practical, all goods should continue to be distributed (not just food and medical supplies) to warehouses, businesses and distribution centres around the country. All activities necessary for the continued provision of an essential service in the supply chain should continue.”

On April 15th, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation went through the supports and schemes available to businesses. DBEI has a range of working capital supports for businesses impacted by COVID–19. “For micro enterprises,  Microfinance Ireland is offering loans of up to €50,000 at a subsidised interest rate of 4.5% and the SBCI COVID 19 working capital scheme offers loans of up to €1.5 million to businesses with up to 499 employees at a maximum interest rate of 4%.” The Department commented that they are “continually improving and adding to supports. We are also planning for the next phase to help businesses grow and prosper again – investment, growth and recapitalising businesses are just some of the issues we are working on with stakeholders.”

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection stated during the webinar on 29th April, that “approximately 1 million people are in receipt of some form of employment subsidy or income support from the State.” Specifically, on the temporary Wage Subsidy scheme, the Department commented that the scheme’s premise “is to retain the link between employees and employer. “Retaining this link is important in anticipation of the economic recovery that will follow.”

The IEA continues to organise webinars to alleviate its members concerns, give clarity on various supports and find a way forward in these challenging times.