Seanad debates

Thursday, 28 January 2016

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


10:30 am

Photo of Aideen HaydenAideen Hayden (Labour) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State and his officials for bringing this important legislation before the Seanad. I welcome that it has been supported by all sides of the House, which is indicative of the importance of SMEs and SME financing in this country. As stated by many speakers from all sides of the House, the SME sector in Ireland is critical to the economic recovery of this country, including in terms of employment.

Senator White raised a number of important points in her amendments. There has been acknowledged disappointment that the scheme as introduced did not bring about the level of engagement expected. I am confident, as, I think, the Minister of State is, that the revisions being made to the scheme will improve the situation for SMEs in this country. Senator White also raised the issue of the importance of access to finance by SMEs, particularly those SMEs that owing to the recession are now heavily indebted and are finding it difficult to get finance from our banking sector, which sector, I might add, we ploughed €62 billion into in order to rescue it.

I welcome the announcement in December 2015 by the Central Bank of the introduction of new regulations that will make the system in relation to access to credit more transparent. The Governor has expressed confidence that following the introduction of the new regulations, where a business that, with its lender, has been restructured and is still having difficulty obtaining finance, that situation will be open to review. I do not believe any of us can stand over a scenario whereby viable SMEs are now being unduly prejudiced by the hard times they faced owing to the collapse of our economy.

This is important legislation. We are happy in this House to have seen it concluded in the lifetime of this Government.


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