Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has reiterated her call that companies in receipt of taxpayer-funded Covid-19 business support payments should not be paying out dividends to shareholders, or else supports should cease.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Yesterday, at the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee, I told officials from the Department that companies in receipt of taxpayer-funded Covid supports should not be paying dividends to shareholders.
“Reports across the media have outlined the scale and breadth of this practice, and it is not one that should be tolerated.
“Taxpayer-funded state supports are there to help struggling businesses cope with wage costs, overheads, and other expenses, as we battle through the pandemic. They most certainly are not there to facilitate the payment of dividends to a company’s shareholders.
“I was clear with Department officials that paying out dividends to shareholders while receiving taxpayer-funded supports might not be against the letter of the law, but it is certainly against the spirit of the law.
“It is up to the government to intervene and immediately bring an end to this practice. Furthermore, if possible, the state should seek the return of taxpayer monies if cases are identified where Covid-19 supports were used to directly pay dividends.”