The funding boost for the Trading Online Voucher scheme announced earlier this month falls significantly short of what’s needed, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

While the elected representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency accepts that additional funding for the scheme stands at €20 million for the year, he noted that demand amongst businesses has been through the roof.

Speaking on the matter, Fitzmaurice said: “The Covid-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on businesses all around the country and they will require a variety of supports if they are to get back up and running.

“We rely on these businesses to get people back to work and to keep communities going.

“As part of the scheme, small businesses have the opportunity to draw down up to €5,000 in two equal grants. It also provides them with the chance to establish or improve their online retail presence.

“If small businesses are to get back on their feet following this epidemic, having a strong online presence will be a big advantage.

“Even though funding for the scheme has increased significantly this year, three years’ worth of applications have reportedly been submitted since the middle of March.

“When the additional funding was announced recently, it was allocated to applications that were already on hand. The scheme is significantly oversubscribed.

“With all the talk around supporting SMEs and getting the country back up and running again, the department and the Government need to find funding to make a further allocation to this scheme,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice 086-1914565

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