"Government must support SME's" - Ógra AontúÓgra Aontú have called on the government to provide better financial supports to SMEs. Spokesperson for the group, Dean Keating, a student of Politics and Irish Studies in NUI Galway, said:
"The government need to find ways to support local & small businesses. Small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) are essential to the Irish economy. SMEs comprises 99.8% of businesses across Ireland, and employ more than 70% of the workforce in every single county in Ireland. Annually, they add 41.7% of gross value to our economy"
Dean continued: "SMEs have been acutely hurt by the Coronavirus lockdowns. Research has shown that many small businesses were financially fragile at the start of the pandemic. With the median SME only having 2 weeks’ worth of money to cover the expenses of running their business on hand at the start of the pandemic. Bureaucratic hassles and difficulties establishing eligibility have also made accessing government aid difficult for business without premises and those who work from home. As a result of this, we are already seeing mass closures and layoffs, with 60% of business that have closed during the pandemic expected to me closed for good"
"We in Ógra Aontú are calling on the government to find more ways to support Ireland’s small businesses to get through the lockdown, to keep our communities and economy alive post-pandemic. We are also urging our supporters to purchase gift vouchers for local businesses - instead of putting money in a card for someone's birthday, why not instead get them a voucher for a local restaurant or pub? This is a great way to inject a small bit of cash - flow into our struggling enterprises", concluded Dean.