Knock-on effects of small business closures in villages ‘beginning to bite’

Irish Rural Link has said that the knock-on effects of small business closures in rural villages and towns are “beginning to bite”.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning (Wednesday, August 19), CEO of Irish Rural Link Seamus Boland said that Covid-19 has caused a significant amount of worry in rural Ireland.

“[Small business closures] have a huge impact. It effects the well-being of people as well,” Boland said.

We’re all worried about the overall disease, which is a real problem, but we’re worried about paying the bills, our jobs and security as well.

“It’s that anxiety and lack of structure that is causing a lot of stress for people.”

Boland added that with all the advice and measures being announced, there needs to be “accompanying messages of support and assistance” for people.

“It’s almost like we need another NPHET [National Public Health Emergency Team] for other health and well-being [issues] because these people are really suffering.”

Boland said that due to the Covid-19 measures in place, there is a decline in the number of people able to access some jobs as they require people to attend the workplace, which may not be suitable, as “they have caring and other duties as well”.

“Indirect services are also affected. It has a huge knock-on [effect] in towns and villages and it is really beginning to bite at the moment.”

Costs for small businesses are ‘mounting all the time’

Meanwhile, AgriLand recently reported on calls from political circles for “immediate support by way of grants and loans” to get small businesses “back into business as quickly as possible”.

Independent TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Marian Harkin, stressed this point while speaking in the Dáil with regard to the proposed Microfinance Loan Fund Bill.

In Ireland, small businesses are critical to the country’s economy, but the proposed rate of loan interest, at up to 5%, compared “very badly with the microfinance loan rate of 2% charged in the Netherlands”, Harkin argued.