Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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199. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will address a matter in relation to a restart grant application (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44151/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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It is important to note that for the purposes of the Restart Grant and Restart Grant Plus Scheme, each Local Authority is the decision maker in relation to initial applications and appeals. The Department has no role in relation to individual applications.

The Restart Grant Plus scheme has closed to new applications since 31 October 2020 and there are currently no plans to reopen the Scheme to late applications as it has been superseded by a number of measures in Budget 2021.

The Restart Grant Plus Scheme was just one part of the wider range of schemes available to firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs.

The Revenue Commissioners’ Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, or ‘CRSS’, effectively replaced the Restart Grant Plus as part of Budget 2021. The CRSS offers a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID- 19 of up to €5,000 per week.

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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200. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the supports that have been made available to artists in the design and crafts industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. [44158/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is the national body for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation and championing design thinking. DCCI's activities are funded by my Department via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 59 member organisations and more than 3,000 registered clients.

The DCCI budget was increased in Budget 2019 by an additional €1.8m (over three years) to expand marketing and development programmes, which are currently being delivered by the Council for Irish designers and makers. The additional funding assisted the sector to develop and generate additional export sales and online revenue opportunities, increasing market diversification by client companies and underpinning sustainable growth. This is of particular relevance at a time when companies are facing risks from Brexit, arising from both access to the UK market and the potential loss of craft sales to UK tourists. Further challenges are now being faced by companies due to a slowdown in orders arising from the global pandemic.

In addressing the challenges of COVID– 19, the DCCI launched two initiatives this year, the Made Local campaign which was launched in July and more recently the Irish Business Design Challenge competition launched in September.

The Made Local campaign encouraged shoppers to buy Irish designs and Irish made products whilst on their summer staycation. It promoted the work of 981 number of Irish designers and makers and saw over 238 number of retailers join in the campaign. Made Local has been re-launched for the Christmas season with the slogan “Love what you Give”and an increased number of designers makers and retailers taking part.

The Irish Business Design Challenge was a joint venture of the Design and Craft Council Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland. The three organisations came together to run the competition and to recognise the resilience and innovation of SMEs in a year which has proven to be so challenging for businesses as a result of COVID-19.

The Irish Business Design Challenge looked for products, services and concepts that had the potential to be game-changing including the development of new products or services to meet current and future needs and new ways of working that help the business become more resilient or efficient. Over 467 enterprises from across Ireland registered to take part in the challenge, of these 187 applications went through the judging process. As part of this, almost 11,000 members of the public voted for their ‘Business Hero’

Showcase plays host to 400 makers and delivers approximately €26million in sales over the 4 days of the exhibition, which normally takes place on the 3rd week of January each year at the Royal Dublin Society. Follow-on orders approximate to €120million, 35% of which is generated by foreign buyers at the physical show. The DCCI is currently recruiting companies for the implementation of a virtual Showcase in January 2021.

DCCI also provides a broad range of advice to clients on the additional Government supports available to craft and design businesses including the Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the COVID-19 Illness Payment, as well as details on the Local Enterprise Boards and Enterprise Ireland business supports.


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