25th May 2020 464 Kerry people respond to Govt call for community volunteers during COVID-19 crisis Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD has commended the fantastic support of local volunteers in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Since the call for people to sign up to support the community response to COVID 19 in Kerry went out in March, 464 people from the area have registered to volunteer through the I-VOL app. Minister Griffin said: “Volunteers in Kerry have been directly linked by the local Volunteer Centre(s) to local organisations responding to COVID-19, conducting a wide range of very important work – from delivering food and medicines to older people who are self-isolating, to volunteering in COVID test centres. “There are also many more volunteers on the ground, helping out family, friends and neighbours. “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the invaluable work being carried out by volunteers in Kerry during the Covid-19 emergency. “The response to the COVID crisis shows once again what a fantastic resource we have in our volunteers and the wonderful community spirit that prevails here in Kerry even during these challenging times.” Minister Griffin continued: “We have always depended greatly on the cohort of volunteers that give so generously of their time and energy year in year out. “Unfortunately, many of our volunteers are older people who have been confined to their homes as a result of the COVID 19 crisis. “Back in March as the crisis was emerging, we called on people to help meet the significant needs at community level and the response has been magnificent.” Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, said: “I am very happy to be in a position to provide the necessary supports to underpin this important work through my Department’s collaboration with Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres. Together, we will ensure that the work of these volunteers results in a permanent legacy for the benefit of our communities. “During the crisis, the Department has introduced a number of additional measures to provide extra support, including additional funding of €500,000 to Volunteer Centres to support the COVID-19 volunteer efforts, a COVID-19 Communication Pack for Communities, a collection of seven leaflets offering practical advice and information on topics ranging from sensible volunteering to vulnerable persons to the prevention of fraud and theft; a €2.5 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund for local authorities to administer to community groups partaking in the ‘Community Call’, as well as €40 million support package of supports for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises.” ENDS For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

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Kerry enterprises urged to apply to Restart Grant for Small Business – Griffin Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD has urged small and micro businesses across Kerry to apply for the new €250m Restart Grant, which will give direct grant aid to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures. Minister Griffin said: “The Grant will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover out to 30th June 2020. “It is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. “The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.” Minister Griffin continued: “I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing small businesses in Kerry during these challenging times. “The Restart Grant is designed to help these businesses get back on their feet. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety. “Small businesses, whether it be the local hairdresser, café or clothes shop, are absolutely vital to the social fabric of our towns and villages throughout Kerry. “In response to the very significant economic challenges posed by Covid-19, the Government has moved swiftly to introduce a range of measures to support enterprises of all sizes. “These measures have included supports for wage costs, liquidity supports and the deferral or waiver of payments. “The Restart Grant will further help to support activity and employment across Kerry,” Minister Griffin said. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, said: “These businesses have made huge sacrifices to protect their employees and customers during COVID-19 and we want to help them get back up and running so that they can return to viability and contribute to the national economic recovery. “These are small grants but they can make a big difference in terms of giving businesses an extra helping hand to open their doors again.” Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to Kerry County Council from Friday 22nd May. Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap. This direct grant support is part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst our SMEs. ENDS Note to Editors About the Restart Grant • Micro and small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of Covid-19. Many businesses, even while closed, continue to incur costs including fixed costs without being able to generate revenues. It is recognised that businesses will also incur costs in preparing their businesses to reopen and meeting the needs of employees and customers. The Restart Grant is designed to alleviate the pressure on businesses in this context. • To avail of the Restart Grant, a business must be in the Local Authorities Commercial Rates Payment System and: 1. have an annual turnover of less than €5m and employ between 1 to 50 people; 2. have closed and/or suffered a projected 25%+ loss in turnover to end June 2020; 3. commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed; 4. declare the intention to retaining employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and to reemploy staff on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable. 5. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety. For further information please contact Brendan on 087-6528841

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Beef farmers in Kerry to benefit from a financial support package in response to Covid-19- Griffin A €50m support scheme will be made available to beef farmers in Kerry who have been financially affected by Covid-19, according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD. Minister Griffin said, “My colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced Cabinet approval for an allocation of €50 million for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19. “The Irish beef sector has suffered from ongoing market disturbance related to this pandemic which has had a substantial impact for beef farmers in Kerry and for the rural economy as a whole. “Fine Gael has been making every effort to assist people whose incomes have been affected by restrictions brought in to ensure the health and safety of all and by economic developments globally. I hope that the support package announced today will go some way to restoring the livelihoods of farmers in Kerry and their families. “This support for the beef sector is an emergency response to a dramatic economic shock and to mitigate the worst Covid-19 economic impacts on these farm enterprises. “Beef farming is a significant economic contributor to the local economy here in Kerry, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining our communities as we recover from the economic effects of Covid-19. Farming is very important to Fine Gael and we will always work to represent farmers’ interests. “Minister Creed has confirmed to me his department will be engaging with stakeholders regarding the details of the scheme to be developed, which must also submitted to the EU for state aid approval under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework. “A meeting of the Beef Taskforce will also be planned for the end of June, to take place by video conference in light of Covid-19 restrictions,” Minister Griffin said. Minister Creed said, “This is part of my ongoing efforts to ensure that all the appropriate support measures are put in place at national and EU level for our farming communities. I urge all actors in the supply chain to recognise their interdependence and work collaboratively towards our shared objective –a beef sector which is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.” Minister Creed concluded “I have now made over €200 million in new money available specifically to beef farmers over the past two years on top of the €300 million under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).” ENDS Notes to Editors: Covid-19 supports The delivery of essential services to farmers, fishermen and the food and forestry sectors has been prioritised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine throughout the course of the pandemic; including services such as export certification, scheme payments, and protocols to allow mart services to continue on a limited and controlled basis. Following a campaign by Member States, spear-headed by Ireland, the European Commission introduced a scheme of aids to private storage under the CAP for certain dairy products, and certain beef and sheepmeat cuts. In May, the Minister announced the Covid-19 voluntary Temporary Fleet Tie-up Scheme for fishing vessels, to be implemented under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014-20. Farming specific supports available include: an increase in the budget for the Calf Investment Scheme to €4 million; bringing forward of balancing payments under GLAS and the Organic Scheme; and various practical flexibilities for applications for the main farm schemes. Farmers, fishers and food businesses will also benefit from access to the Government’s liquidity and investment responses to Covid-19 impacts, including the expansion of the Future Growth Loan Scheme for capital investment and Microfinance Ireland loans for working capital. While the banks have extended their payment break from three months to six months for those directly impacted by Covid-19, the Government has announced an expanded Credit Guarantee Schemes, which will support working capital lending to SMEs, including farmers and fishers. In addition, food businesses are eligible for the Covid Working Capital Loan Scheme, as well as Enterprise Ireland supports to maintain business continuity and liquidity, and Bord Bia supports to accelerate eCommerce and expand marketing activities. For further information please contact Brendan 087-6528841