Seanad debates

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill 2015: Report and Final Stages


10:30 am

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour) | Oireachtas source

I thank Senators for their consideration of this Bill and constructive contributions, as well as those of my Dáil colleagues. As regards the original 2012 legislation, the Government faced an economic and employment crisis and the plight of SMEs was never far from its mind. SMEs account for most employment in this country and were starved of finance, a major challenge for the incoming Government. It responded on many levels, including the establishment of Microfinance Ireland, the SBCI and the Credit Guarantee Act 2012. These were coupled with enterprise-oriented budgets to deliver an economic recovery. We are now seeing the benefits of these actions.

However, we did not leave it there with the 2012 Act. We kept the operation of its schemes under review. The review stated in school report parlance that we could do better. Accordingly, we responded with the propositions in this legislation to make the credit guarantee scheme work better. I am sure we will see the benefits of the changes in the years to come. The Action Plan for Jobs 2016 has a chapter on finance for growth. I hope improvements in our economic performance are mirrored in the switch in emphasis on the survival of our SMEs to their potential for significant growth in the period ahead. In this context, this reformed and expanded legislation will pay a major role in SMEs as time goes on and help to deliver on our Action Plan for Jobs 2016 target for 200,000 net additional sustainable jobs by 2020 for the benefit of everyone. I thank Senators for their support for this important legislation.


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