Ireland boosts coronavirus liquidity support to €1bn

Ireland boosts coronavirus liquidity support to €1bn

Ireland boosted its liquidity support available to firms reeling from the coronavirus lockdown of the economy to 1 billion euros on Wednesday and promised there was more to come.

The government made an initial 350 million euros of working capital and credit guarantee available as it concentrated its 6.7 billion euro initial fiscal response on increased jobless payments and wage subsidies for affected employees.

On Wednesday it announced that small and medium-sized firms can tap the state development bank for 450 million euros more in loans and working capital. Larger manufacturing, transport and logisics companies can borrow another 180 million euros that can be leveraged up to 500 million euros via financial markets.

Smaller amounts for online trading and firms with fewer than 10 workers brought the total so far up to 1 billion euros.

"I know businesses are hurting right now and this is the first of a number of extra steps that we will be taking to ease the pressure," Business Minister Heather Humphreys told a news conference, saying the measures were aimed at helping businesses through the initial 'shock' and for some 'stabilisation' phase.

"When the time comes, we will come forward with another suite of packages but it's about providing the right suite at the right time so when we get to the 'reboot' stage, which we will get to, we will then come forward with another suite."

Ireland's main business lobby, IBEC, said the measures announced on Wednesday were very welcome, as was the commitment of more to come.

IBEC last week called on government to provide a net 3.9 billion euros of business supports that it said could underpin over 26 billion euros worth of liquidity measures. (Reuters)