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Government serving global leaders and not the ordinary people of Ireland – McGrath

The government is serving global leaders and not the ordinary people of Ireland, Independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath has told the Dáil.

Deputy McGrath’s comments came during a heated discussion of the Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill 2022 during a Dáil Éireann debate on Wednesday.

The €200 million Ukraine Enterprise Crisis Scheme, announced by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, completed its first stage in the Dáil at the end of last month. The Bill would make amendments to the Credit Guarantee Act 2012 in order to allow businesses to access additional finance that includes the creation of the Ukraine credit guarantee scheme in response to economic difficulties resulting from the aggression by Russia against Ukraine.

Those backing the Bill claim such finance is needed due to the pressure rising costs have put on Irish businesses, however the Rural Independent TD said it’s clear there is “no money for small people”.

The Department of Enterprise outlines:

“There will be two streams of funding under the Scheme to assist viable but vulnerable firms of all sizes in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. The first stream will assist firms suffering liquidity problems as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the second stream will also help those impacted by severe rises in energy costs”.

Speaking on Wednesday while discussing the Bill in the Dáil, Deputy McGrath highlighted the “enormous challenges” facing the ordinary people of Ireland. He said that the Bill “is not going to work”, adding that it “does not cut it with ordinary people,” as he posed the question: “Who is looking after the small businesses?”

“We are told the purpose of the Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill 2022 is to make amendments to the Credit Guarantee Act 2012 to support the needs of business to access additional finance. According to the Government, the creation of a Ukraine credit guarantee scheme is in response to economic difficulties resulting from the aggression by Russia against Ukraine.

“My goodness what will we call it next? Will we change our name altogether? Instead of being Ireland will we become Ukraine? The last scheme did not work,” McGrath said.

“It was an abject failure because the money was not given to the small companies; it was given to the grubby main banks and they would not lend it”.

“Farmers, agricultural contractors and businesspeople who had vibrant business plans were told “No, no, no”. Yet the Government makes the same mistake over and over again. Someone told me one time that to keep doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of “mental illness”.

“Yet we see the Government doing the same thing here the whole time. It is beholden to the banks. It is selling off part of AIB now to make more money.

This is not going to work. It does not cut it with me and it does not cut it with ordinary people. The amount of money being talked about is staggering”.

McGrath said that the Government’s ban on domestic energy resources in favour of a green agenda has left many ordinary people in crisis, describing it as “complete codology”.

“There are three reasons that I can see. There is the ongoing dysfunctional energy policy, which places a ban on domestic energy sources, especially our own here if it is not renewable. We all want to be renewable and be green but we do not have the wherewithal to do it. We do not get into the car tonight and then take off two wheels before we go to drive it. We have to keep it going, get the NCT and keep it roadworthy and have it taxed and insured and keep the licence and all to drive it. However, here the clamour is to be greener and holier than thou. It is complete codology. I could call it worse”.

He also said: “The lack of an energy facility is another madness until such time as we have the renewables. Our oil prices and taxes are among the highest in the world, especially the carbon tax”.


The TD also pointed to the struggles facing small businesses across Ireland, adding that many cannot afford to keep the lights on and cannot attain the much-needed finance they need from the banks or other sources.

“As I said the providers for the scheme are supposed to be the primary producers and mid-caps defined as businesses with up to 490 people. What is the minimum size of a business that is allowed to approach for a loan?

“Who is looking after the small businesses? What about those with one to five workers who maybe have a couple of members of the family working, or one to ten? They are the businesses being crushed and walked over. They cannot keep the lights on at the moment and then cannot get finance from any source”.

He also thanked ESB officials for engaging in a conversation about the current situation in a meeting during the week. He said that while he and his colleagues in the rural independents expected some form of progress, officials are powerless to act as a result of Government legislation.

“We met with ESB senior officials today. I thank them for coming to meet us, and I thank the ESB staff on the ground who work in all weather and come out at all times. We expected something but they cannot do anything because of Government legislation and the so-called regulator who will not allow them to bring down the prices.

“The Government put nothing only misery on the people and the regulator will not allow the ESB to drop the costs. Businesses are closing, including the one-man show, the two-man show and the firms with one to ten employees. Family businesses for generations will never be replaced,” he said.

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