Farmer applications remain ineligible for €300 million loan scheme

Applications to the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme – earmarked for businesses to use in preparation of Brexit – are not eligible from farmers, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has clarified.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue on whether funds from the working capital loan scheme can be made available to farmers.

This is in view of the fact that take-up has been low since it opened in March 2018, according to deputy McConalogue.

“The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are, or will be, impacted by Brexit, and meet the scheme criteria,” Minister Creed.

The minister explained that exchequer funding from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is used to fund the scheme.

“It has been designed to assist eligible Irish businesses in the short-term to deal with the challenges of Brexit, which include the pressures of increased market instability and currency volatility.

Because of the terms and conditions of the scheme, including the EIF Innovfin counter-guarantee and EU State Aid rules, primary agriculture is not eligible for the scheme.

“I have had ongoing engagement with the banks on the cash flow pressures arising from the effects of the weather this year at the primary producer level.

“I am pleased to see that this engagement and the delivery of last year’s Agriculture Cash Flow Loan Scheme have acted as a catalyst to encourage financial institutions to improve and develop new products for the sector,” Minister Creed said.