Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
137. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his plans to introduce a new form of examinership in relation to company law to facilitate smaller companies seeking to survive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43809/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 137 together.
The State’s long-standing preventive restructuring framework, examinership, is internationally recognised and has proven to be a successful tool for restructuring in its current form.
However, I know that the cost of examinership is prohibitive for smaller businesses. That is why I wrote to the Company Law Review Group in July, requesting it to consider the issue of rescue for small businesses.
The CLRG is a statutory advisory body charged with advising the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on matters pertaining to company law. Its membership is broad and representative of key stakeholders in the area such as ISME, IBEC, ICTU, the Revenue Commissioners, insolvency and legal practitioners and regulators, making it uniquely well positioned to provide an informed view on the matter.
The CLRG completed its work within an accelerated timeframe reporting back to me on 24thOctober 2020. The report set out its recommendation for a proposed new process for the rescue of small companies, distinct from the existing examinership legislation.
The issue of company rescue extends far beyond the distressed company itself and impacts all creditors, often other small companies. Any new framework must reflect the delicate balance between sometimes competing stakeholders and provide sufficiently robust safeguards for the protection of creditors, in particular, employees.
I am acutely aware of the difficulties faced by small companies in our country and remain committed to progressing legislation to support their long-term viability and preserve employment. The recommendations contained within the CLRG report have been under active consideration by my officials and they have just made proposals to me on responding to the report and progressing any necessary legislation as soon as is practicable. The report will be made available publicly on the CLRG's website when I have had opportunity to consider the matter. I would expect this to happen very soon and I appreciate the urgency of the issue.