May 25, 2020
“Government not availing of EU flexibility to help Irish Sports Clubs and Summer Festivals” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Government not availing of EU flexibility to help Irish Sports Clubs and Summer Festivals” – Chris MacManus MEP

Ireland accounts for only €400m of €1. 9 trillion of pandemic State Aid

Sinn Féin MEP, Chris MacManus who is a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, has said it is shocking that of the €1.9trillion of State Aid used by EU Member States since the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic Ireland has accounted for only €400m.

He said the State must fully grasp the additional flexibility offered by the EU Commission:

“These figures based on publicly available decisions and data provided to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament show that Ireland has accounted for only a drop in the ocean of the State Aid allowed by the EU Commission. There is massive scope to extend Ireland’s use of the emergency flexibility to protect jobs and businesses.

State Aid, normally seen as direct State investment in a sector or company, is normally de facto banned under EU rules. The pandemic has seen the normally strict Commission relax these rules , in the face of countries determined to save their economies from unnecessary damage. Other countries have taken full advantage with €1.9trillion being used to prop up national economies. Ireland however has barely used the opportunity with only €400m of schemes of State Aid having been implemented. It is the responsibility of Fine Gael’s MEPs to inform their colleagues in the Dail of the availability of these funds and If they have already done so then why has no action been taken?”

For comparison, Denmark, a country with of a similar size to Ireland has received the green light for over €7bn of State Aid investment. One of the Danish schemes allowed the government to compensate holders of events of over 1,000 people that had to be cancelled.

We can imagine what a shot in the arm such a scheme could have for Irish sport or entertainment.

“Restaurants, pubs and countless other sectors are reeling and just trying to hold on to viability while the pandemic forces economic lockdown upon us. While other countries are directing the State’s resources into protecting these industries, the Irish government are sitting on their hands. They must now wake up and use the full scope of this temporary exemption to save as many jobs and businesses as possible.” ENDS

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