€540bn stimulus package to put Ireland back on track

Jack Chambers: Focus on supports for those worst affected. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The July stimulus package coupled with multi-billion euro EU supports will help "kick-start the economy post-lockdown" and put Ireland on "the path to recovery", the Dáil has heard.

Junior finance minister Jack Chambers said that the Covid-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented economic and social challenge for Europe, which can be combated by member states working together.

The Dáil is debating legislation to allow the State to enter into agreement to access the EU's SURE loans, aimed at protecting jobs, part of a €540bn package to support European companies and workers in member states. TDs are also considering legislation to allow access to the European Investment Bank's so-called guarantee fund, designed to protect SMEs.

Both funds will require Ireland to make contributions over a period but will be integrated into the Government's so-called July stimulus package later this month, which will look at ways to ease taxes for firms and ensure jobs are not lost.

Speaking to the Dáil, Mr Chambers said: “The July stimulus package will be unveiled shortly and will place the SME sector, which is the backbone of our economy and is central to our recovery, at its core. There will be a specific focus on offering supports for the sectors of the economy worst affected by the pandemic.

“The package will help restore employment to the end of 2020 but will also fund and progress our goals of decarbonising the economy, delivering balanced regional development, and preparing for a digital future.

The July plan would reignite the economy, but would also be dependent on the global economy, he added.

I am confident the measures to be outlined as part of the July stimulus package will help us to kick-start the economy post lockdown and set us on the path to recovery

“However, Ireland’s response must take account of the wider European Union and global context for recovery also. As a small, open economy with a global outlook, Ireland depends on a rules-based international order and robust global trading frameworks.

“A recovery at global and European levels will in turn support efforts at national level to restore the Irish economy to growth.”