Dáil debates

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:10 pm

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy. More than €6.6 billion has been provided under the EWSS comprising of direct subsidy payments of €5.729 billion to companies and PRSI forgone of just under €1 billion. It has helped to protect approximately 700,000 jobs in 60,000 companies. The legislation incorporates important safeguards to ensure that it is correctly claimed by companies. Revenue is undertaking assurance checks on the scheme to ensure that conditions have been met and will continue to do so.

Qualification for EWSS is based on the employer demonstrating that his or her business experienced a 30% reduction in turnover or orders during a specific period and that this was caused as a consequence of disruption related to the pandemic. Revenue is rigorous in its structured programme of checks to ensure the eligibility of businesses for subsidy payments under the scheme and will pursue any instances where a business fails to qualify for the scheme, whatever the reason.

While the question of what dividends a company may or may not be in a position to pay shareholders is a matter outside the current legislative remit of the scheme, the Minister for Finance wants it noted that some companies have voluntarily repaid some or all the subsidy received. Revenue has put in place procedures for the repayment of wage subsidies where businesses wish to make them.


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