Our strength is in our numbers

As our country moves rapidly forward from what has been the most difficult of times for individuals and businesses, we, at CBA, are continuing to work on your behalf.  As we are sure you’re aware we were continuously available throughout this crisis and were delighted to be able to step to the fore on behalf of our members.  This crisis has made us even more conscious of the need for the businesses of Cork to work together. 

As businesses and society begin to emerge, we are still conscious that we must all proceed with caution. We, as a national community, have achieved great strides in combating this virus but work in this area is still continuing. CBA will continue to act as a conduit on behalf of its members, lobbying for their needs and aid requirements through the various local and national stakeholders and authorities, despite our small staff, we will persevere in all of our work which has now become a 7-day a week task. 

In addition to our direct one on one work, support and consultancy with our members, we were also extremely busy with delivering resources directly to our members such as webinars, conferences and masterclasses, which we hope you derived as much from them as we did.

 

Business grants and supports

Following the direct result of lobbying on behalf of our members, we were successful in achieving rates deferral, payment moratoriums, business grants and support. We also are still working with the government and all stakeholders in relation to additional supports, VAT reductions, grants and clarification surrounding regulations and recommendations. 

 

Parking

Another key request from several members across various business sectors was in relation to the issue around parking, and thankfully following more strategic meetings with members of Cork City Council, both North Main Street and Paul Street Car Parks were free for a number of months. Whilst charges have now been reintroduced we have ensured that the first two hours are still free as an incentive for customers to come into the city. 

Pedestrianisation

As many of you are aware, we have also been influential in the consultation process that Cork City Council has opened up to the general public and businesses regarding the reopening of the city and also led the lobbying regarding the wider use of street furniture, we were also successful in ensuring the relevant licence fee is waived for 2020. We also supported where appropriate the utilisation of streets for expanded business usage, and successfully requested the abolition of plans for one-way street systems for pedestrians.

 

Security

Following various requests from members across the city and concerns for safety on our streets, we utilised our ongoing strategic partnership with An Garda Síochána and obtained a designated Cork City Garda Task Force to provide additional security for existing and returning businesses and their customers. 

Promotion of your business

As you are probably aware we have also commissioned, with the support of Cork City Council, a specific Cork City Shopping website to act as a free resource for businesses across Cork. We would ask you to ensure that you have been included – the designer has allowed for a form which is easy to complete and will ensure your inclusion. A full marketing campaign is currently running on this project and will continue to do so in the coming months. 

We look forward to working on your behalf for the coming year once again.  

Payment Plans

If are a member of the Cork Business Association you will receive an invoice form us for the membership fee in the following week. If you prefer to pay by direct debit on a Yearly, Quarterly or Monthly basis please contact the office and we will send you the required form.  If you prefer to pay in installments also please just contact us: info@corkbusiness.ie

Become a member!

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Cork Business Association we now offer different payment options. You can receive a yearly invoice, if you sign up now you will pay only for the rest of the year or pay via direct debit: yearly, quarterly,  monthly, whatever suits your needs.   See our Membership Fees & Form.

 

COVID-19 Business Restart Grant Applications must be submitted before August 31st 2020

 

Please ensure you have applied for the Business Restart Grant the deadline is August 31st 2020. Don't put it on the long finger get your application into Cork City Council this week if possible.

Apply online for the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant

The €250 million Restart Fund has been created nationally by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  The purpose is to to help micro and small enterprises with the costs of reopening during Covid-19.  Companies can apply for a grant to Cork City Council of an amount equivalent to no more than their 2019 rates bill and there will be a cap of €10,000. The grant can be used to pay ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.

To receive the grant from Cork City Council, a business must:

  • Have an existing rate account with Cork City Council
  • Have an annual turnover of less than €5 million and employ between 1 to 50 people
  • Have closed, or incurred a projected 25% or more loss in turnover to the end of June 2020
  • Commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed
  • Declare the intention to retaining employees that are on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and to re-employ staff on the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable

Apply online for the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant Below is a list of frequently asked questions however if you wish to contact our office for advice please do so: info@corkbusiness.ie:  Tel 021-4278295.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of business can apply?

Subject to the qualifying criteria below, any business that has a commercially rateable premise, or where rates are paid on your behalf and attributable to the business premises you occupy, can apply.

Multiple chain stores, i.e. a business that is a non-financially independent branch of a group of chain stores which is owned and managed by a single entity, are not eligible.  Non-commercial organisations such as community and sporting premises (including charity shops and community and sporting premises with a bar) are not eligible.  Businesses that do not operate from commercially rateable premises (tradesmen, service providers, etc) are not eligible.  Premises that were vacant prior to the Covid-19 emergency are not eligible for the grant.

2. How soon will I get my grant?

On average, we hope to issue approval within one week.  This depends, of course, on the initial volume of applications. Applications will be processed in relation to anticipated re-opening dates, in line with the Government’s strategy for the re-opening of the economy.

3. How much will I get?

The grant will be the amount of your rates demand in respect of the calendar year 2019 only, subject to a minimum of €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000.  In the event that your rates demand was reduced on appeal, the appeal rate will apply to an amount of the grant if the grant is over €2,000.

4. If my rates demand for the calendar year 2019 was less than €2,000 can I receive a grant of €2,000?

Yes

5. What can I use the grant for?

The grant is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. The grant could be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, e.g. utilities, insurance, refurbishment or for measures to ensure employee and customer safety.

6. If my premises was not rate assessed in 2019 am I eligible?

Yes.  The local authority will endeavour to assess what your rates demand for 2019 would have been and, if, for any reason, an estimate cannot be made the minimum grant of €2,000 will be paid.

7. If I have not paid my 2019 rates, am I eligible?

Yes.

8. If my rates are in arrears, am I eligible?

Yes

9. How do I apply?

The application can be made online via your local authority website.

10. How will the grant be paid?

The grant will be paid by electronic transfer to the business account detailed on the application form.

11. What are the criteria for qualifying for the grant?

A business must have a turnover of less than €5m and have 50 or less employees.

Businesses should retain supporting documentation as spot-checks may be carried out to verify a declaration to this effect.

12. When is the closing date?

The closing date for receipt of applications is 31 August 2020.

13. What is my Customer Number?

Your Customer Number is located on your commercial rates demand.

14. What is my Rate Number?

Your Rate Number (or LAID) is located on your commercial rates demand.

15. What is my Business Category?

Business Categories, based on the Government’s Roadmap for a phased re-opening of the economy,  are as set out below

 

Phase 0

Business never closed.

Phase 1

Hardware, garden centers, opticians, motor/cycle repairs, office products, electrical, IT equipment, phone sales/repairs, outdoor construction, public amenities.

Phase 2

Small retail outlets, marts.

Phase 3

Creches for essential workers, retail outlets with street entrance, cafes, and restaurants for on-premises consumption.

Phase 4

Creches, ‘high-risk’ services including hairdressers, tourism accommodation.

Phase 5 Bars, theaters, cinemas, gyms, shopping centers.

 

16. What is my Revenue Number?

Your revenue number is your Tax Registration Number (TRN) which is a business’ number for all dealings with Revenue.

17. What is a Bank Statement Header?

The bank statement header is the top of a recent bank statement indicating your business name and address and business bank account number, which should be scanned and uploaded as an attachment to the application form to verify your business name and address, and your bank account details.

18. How do I sign the form?

Applicants should type in their name and by pressing “Submit” they are confirming that all details are correct/true.

19. Do I need to submit a Tax Clearance Access Number?

If you are making applications related to a number of businesses/premises (totalling grants of €10,000 or more), or if you are supplying goods/services to the local authority, you must submit a Tax Clearance Access Number to allow your tax clearance status to be checked.

20. Where can I get more information?

Further information can be obtained from your Local Authority Business Support Unit at Phone: 021 4924000 or email restartgrant@corkcity.ie

21. If I am not happy with the decision to refuse my grant can I appeal?

Appeals relating to a decision to refuse an application shall be made in writing within 7 days of receipt of notification of the decision to appealsrestartgrant@corkcity.ie whose decision on the appeal will be final. 

CBA Welcomes decision by An Bórd Pleanála to Approve Morrisons’s Island Project

It's just over a decade ago when €130 million of damage was caused in Cork City by Flooding. There, of course, have been several instances of flooding since most notably in 2014.
For those unaffected, the distress caused to hundreds of business people and many more who saw their homes and property destroyed can only be imagined. Flooding is a problem that has dogged Cork City for centuries. The city suffers from both tidal and fluvial (river) flooding, the consequences of which have been seen regularly over the years. Climate change makes the risk of flooding even more acute and preventive measures more urgent.

The Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme (LLFRS) is the culmination of over 10 years of consideration and study of the River Lee Catchment and the complex nature of flooding impacting Cork City. It proposes a necessary, affordable, workable and integrated solution.

The Morrison's Island portion of the scheme is designed to remove an estimated 80% of the flood threat to city-centre businesses. The Bórd in their judgement said:

''Having regard to the nature, scale and extent of the proposed development and to the location of the site in an established, built-up urban area in the heart of Cork City and to the poor quality of the public realm and inefficient use of the riverside area which is dominated by traffic and parked cars, to the poor state of repair of the historic quay walls, and to the severity and hardship experienced by residents and businesses in the area, the Board considers that, subject to compliance with the conditions set out below, the proposed development would deliver significant benefits in terms of reducing the risk of tidal flooding in the area, would provide for necessary remedial works to the quay walls would provide for a much improved public realm along the waterside would deliver a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety.

The the proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the current Cork City Development objectives for the area, would not adversely affect the environment, would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, and would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the
area"

Morrison's island has long been in need of an upgrade and this scheme will deliver this. It will include a viewing platform over the river Lee, three new public plazas, a mini-boardwalk and much-needed upgrade and repair to our quay walls as well as integrated flood defenses.

There has been much written and said about this Morison's Island project and indeed the LLFRS scheme over the past number of years. The end product in terms of both the Morrison's Island element and the entire Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme is as a result fundamentally better than what was originally envisaged. All who have contributed to the debate have done so from a perspective of delivering the best possible outcome for Cork and its citizens. To reaffirm this position we welcome that the Bórd has imposed a number of planning conditions including the appointment of an ecologist and conservation specialist to oversee the works.

We are listing below for your information the full un-edited report from An Bórd Pleanála.

Lawrence Owens

Chief Executive

Cork Business Association

 

Board Order ABP-303247-18

 

Planning and Development Acts, 2000 to 2019 

Planning Authority: Cork City Council 

Application by Cork City Council for approval under section 177AE of the Planning 

and Development Act 2000, as amended, in accordance with plans and particulars, 

including a Natura Impact Statement, lodged with An Bord Pleanála on the 13th day 

of December 2018, as amended by the further information received by An Bord 

Pleanála on the 11th day of July 2019. 

Proposed Development: Proposed development works comprising remedial works 

to the existing quay walls, construction of public realm improvement works and flood 

defence works between Parliament Bridge and Parnell Bridge along Morrison’s Quay 

and Fr. Matthew Quay, and a short section along Union Quay close to Trinity 

Footbridge, Morrison’s Quay, Cork City. Decision 

Approve the above-proposed development based on the reasons and 

considerations under and subject to the conditions set out below. 

Matters Considered 

In making its decision, the Board had regard to those matters to which, by virtue of the Planning and Development Acts and Regulations made thereunder, it was required to have regard. Such matters included any submissions and observations received by it in accordance with statutory provisions.

Reasons and Considerations 

In coming to its decision, the Board had regard to the following: 

(a) the European Union Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), 

(b) the Birds Directive (74/409/EEC as amended by 2009/147/EC), 

(c) the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, 

(d) the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2014/52/EU amending 

Directive 2011/92/EU, 

(e) the European Union Water Framework Directive 2000 (2000/60/EEC), 

(f) the European Union Directive 2007/60/EC on the Assessment and 

Management of Flood Risks, 

(g) the document entitled “Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects in 

Ireland: Guidance for Planning Authorities” issued by the Department of the 

Environment, Heritage and Local Government (amended 2010), 

(h) the Guidelines for Planning Authorities and An Bord Pleanála on carrying out 

Environmental Impact Assessment issued by the Department of Housing, 

Planning and Local Government (2018), 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 2 of 8 

(i) the Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines, published by 

the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in 2009, 

(j) the National Planning Framework 2040, published by Government in February 

2018, 

(k) the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region, which 

came into effect on the 31st day of January 2020, 

(l) the Design Manual for Roads and Streets, published by Government in 2013, 

(m)the Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021, 

(n) the submissions and observations received in relation to the likely effects on 

the environment, 

(o) the report and recommendation of the reporting Inspector and Senior 

Ecologist, 

(p) the likely consequences for the environment and the proper planning and 

sustainable development of the area in which it is proposed to carry out the 

proposed development and the likely significant effects of the proposed 

development on a European site. 

Appropriate Assessment: Stage 1 

The development has been considered in light of the assessment requirements of 

Sections 177AE and 177V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended. 

The Board completed a screening for appropriate assessment of the project. In 

completing a screening for Appropriate Assessment, the Board accepted and 

adopted the screening assessment and conclusion carried out in the report of Dr. 

Maeve Flynn Senior Ecologist and the report of the Inspector in respect of the 

identification of the European sites which could potentially be affected, and the 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 3 of 8 

identification and assessment of the potential likely significant effects of the 

the proposed development, either individually or in combination with other plans or 

projects, on these European sites in view of the sites’ conservation objectives. The 

Board was satisfied that the proposed Morrison’s Island Public realm and Flood 

Relief development, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, 

would not be likely to have a significant effect on any other European sites, in view of 

the sites’ conservation objectives other than the Great Island Channel Special Area 

of Conservation (Site Code: 001058) and Cork Harbour Special Protection Area (Site 

Code: 004030). Consequently, an Appropriate Assessment was required of the 

implications of the project on the qualifying features of those sites in light of their 

conservation objectives. 

Appropriate Assessment: Stage 2 

The Board completed an Appropriate Assessment exercise in relation to the potential 

effects of the proposed development on the affected Natura 2000 sites, namely the 

Great Island Channel Special Area of Conservation (Site Code: 001058) and the 

Cork Harbour Special Protection Area (Site Code: 004030) and in doing so took into 

account the nature, scale and location of the proposed development, the Natura 

Impact Statement submitted with the application, the further information submitted to 

the Board on the 11th day of July, 2019, the submissions on file, the report of Dr. 

Maeve Flynn, Senior Ecologist and the report of the Inspector’s assessment. In 

completing the Appropriate Assessment, the Board accepted and adopted the 

the appropriate assessment carried out in the report of Dr. Maeve Flynn, Senior 

Ecologist and the report of the Inspector in respect of the potential effects of the 

proposed development on the aforementioned European sites, having regard to the 

sites’ conservation objectives. The Board concluded that the proposed scheme 

would not have an adverse effect on the integrity of the European sites, having 

regard to the Conservation Objectives for the sites. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 4 of 8 

Having regard to the nature, scale and extent of the proposed development and to 

the location of the site in an established, built-up urban area in the heart of Cork City, 

and to the poor quality of the public realm and inefficient use of the riverside area 

which is dominated by traffic and parked cars, to the poor state of repair of the 

historic quay walls, and to the severity and hardship experienced by residents and 

businesses in the area, the Board considers that, subject to compliance with the 

conditions set out below, the proposed development would deliver significant 

benefits in terms of reducing the risk of tidal flooding in the area, would provide for 

necessary remedial works to the quay walls, would provide for a much improved 

public realm along the waterside would deliver a safe environment for pedestrians 

and cyclists and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety. The 

the proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the current Cork City 

Development objectives for the area, would not adversely affect the environment, 

would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property in the vicinity, and 

would be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the 

area. 

Conditions 

  1. The proposed development shall be carried out and completed in accordance 

with the plans and particulars, including the Environmental Report, the 

Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report and Natura Impact 

Statement and other associated documentation, lodged with An Bord Pleanála 

on the 13th day of December, 2018 and the 11th day of July, 2019, except as 

may otherwise be required in order to comply with the conditions set out below. 

Where any mitigation measures set out in the Environmental Report and Natura 

Impact Statement or any conditions of this approval require further details to be 

prepared by or on behalf of the local authority, these details shall be placed on 

the file and retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of clarity and the proper planning and sustainable 

development of the area and to ensure the protection of the environment. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 5 of 8 

  1. The mitigation measures and associated monitoring outlined in the plans and 

particulars submitted with the application and as amended by the Further 

Information response received by An Bord Pleanala on the 11th day of July 

2019, including the Environmental Report and Natural Impact Statement, shall 

be carried out in full, except as may otherwise be required in order to comply 

with other conditions. Prior to commencement of the development, details of a 

time schedule for implementation of the mitigation measures and associated 

monitoring shall be prepared by the local authority and placed on the file and 

retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of clarity and protection of the environment and in the 

interest of public health. 

  1. Prior to the commencement of development, the local authority or any agent 

acting on its behalf shall prepare in consultation with the relevant statutory 

agencies, a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP), that 

adheres to best practice environmental management. The CEMP shall include 

specific proposals for monitoring of the effectiveness of the environmental 

management measures outlined in the CEMP, shall include hours of working 

for the construction of the proposed development and shall be placed on the file 

and retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of protecting the environment, protection of European 

sites and in the interest of public health. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 6 of 8 

  1. Prior to the commencement of the development, details of measures to protect 

fisheries and the water quality of the river systems shall be outlined and placed 

on file. Full regard shall be had to the Inland Fisheries Ireland’s published 

updated guidelines for construction works near waterways (Guidelines on 

Protection of Fisheries during Construction Works in and Adjacent to Waters, 

2016). A programme of water quality monitoring shall be prepared in 

consultation with the Contractor, the local authority and relevant statutory 

agencies and the programme shall be implemented thereafter. Details of the 

programme shall be placed on the file and retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: In the interest of protection of receiving water quality, fisheries, and 

aquatic habitats. 

  1. A suitably qualified ecologist shall be appointed by the local authority to 

oversee the site set-up and construction of the proposed development in 

accordance with the mitigation measures set out in the Natura Impact 

Statement. Upon completion of the construction stage, an audit report of the 

site works shall be prepared by the appointed ecologist and submitted to the 

local authority to be maintained on the file as part of the public record. 

Reason: To ensure the protection of the designated sites during construction. 

  1. The detailed design of the proposed tie-ins between the flood defence walls 

and Parliament Bridge and all interventions to the quay walls including fenders, 

shall be the subject of a report by a Conservation Specialist prior to the 

commencement of works on the site, which shall be placed on the file and 

retained as part of the public record. 

Reason: To ensure that the detailed design respects the special interests of 

Parliament Bridge and associated maritime features. 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 7 of 8 

  1. The developer shall consult with Irish Water to ensure that there will be no 

detriment to or interference with Irish Water assets. Any proposals to divert 

services and/or for temporary connections shall be agreed with Irish Water in 

advance of such works and access for operational and maintenance reasons 

shall be maintained at all times. 

Reason: In the interest of orderly development. 

Chris McGarry Member of An Bord Pleanála duly authorised to authenticate the seal of the Board. 

Dated this day of 2020 

ABP-303247-18 Board Order Page 8 of 8 

 

https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/services/environment/flood-management/morrisons-island-public-realm-and-flood-defence-project.html

Cork City Shopping Website: Find your Local Business!

Cork Business Association Launch a Free Resource to aid Cork Businesses

In Conjunction with Cork City Council

Webinar Launch Friday 19th June, 11am

 

June 2020 – Cork Business Association in association with Cork City Council have relaunched their Cork City Channels and have developed a dedicated website to aid Cork Businesses as a completely free resource – www.corkcityshopping.com. To launch the website officially a webinar will be held on Friday 19th June at 11am, with Ann Doherty, Chief Executive and Erin O’Brien of Cork City Council, Paul McGuirk of Cork City’s Local Enterprise Office, Lawrence Owens of Cork Business Association together with Sinéad Dunphy from Eventi Management who will give a quick masterclass on marketing and all things digital for Cork Businesses.

This new website is offering a collective one-stop shop showcasing Cork’s businesses with a focus on both the businesses’ online channels as well as their bricks and mortar business. The Cork City Shopping Chanel was originally launched in 2018 as an initiative of the Cork Business Association supported by Cork City Council to promote shopping in Cork city principally through social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offering businesses an opportunity to work collectively to drive footfall into Cork city.

Eoin O’Sullivan, President of Cork Business Association was delighted to be driving the resource and said “it is so heartening to see the people of Cork supporting each other throughout these extraordinary times and we in Cork Business Association are thrilled to be driving another resource to help our great city, in the most positive way.”

In March of 2020 our country went into lockdown resulting in the temporary closure of most businesses and restrictions on the movement of people. However many businesses in Cork showed remarkable adaptability in turning to new ways of doing business amid the fallout from the Covid 19 outbreak. They reinvented how they traded either from starting a home delivery service to a takeaway offering or to opening an e-commerce element to their business.

On the implementation of the idea, Cork City Council Chief Executive, Anne Doherty said:

“We, the people of Cork are known for our pride in our city, and the resilience and good nature of the Cork people through this most difficult time has shown real courage and has fortified even further that true Cork pride. We see this resource as an excellent aid to Cork Business now in their recovery following the most unprecedented of circumstances. We truly are in this together and that is something we will continue long into our future.”

To support Cork businesses the Cork Business Association again generously supported by Cork City Council are re-launching the Cork City Shopping channel offering a wider and more expansive service and with its very own dedicated website as a completely FREE resource to businesses in Cork. Simply complete the contact form on the website (www.corkcityshopping.com) and they’ll do the rest. This service is open to all businesses in the listed categories so remember; we are all in this together and continue to shop local.

To attend the webinar please register on www.eventbrite.ie 

 

Conference Call with Bank of Ireland

Conference Call with Bank of Ireland's Head of Retail and Head of Hospitality

5TH OF JUNE 2020  - 11 AM - ZOOM

 

This Friday the 5th of June at 11 am there we would like to offer our members to join in a conference call with Bank of Ireland Sectorial Heads Owen Clifford (Head of Retail) and Gerardo Larios Rizo (Head of Hospitality). This meeting is free of charge.

 

The subjects that will be covered are

  •         Finding your way to viability post lockdown
  •         Challenges and opportunities in the new competitive landscape
  •         Strategizing for the anticipated change in consumer behaviour

Followed by a Q & A

 

Topic: Bank of Ireland CBA meeting

Time: Jun 5, 2020 11:00 AM Dublin

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86506977831?pwd=MzFnTWp2Y3ZoQVIrNDYvY3JZdVBxUT09

Meeting ID: 865 0697 7831

Password: 0eN57q

Owen Clifford is Head of the Retail Sector within Bank of Ireland since 2015.  Owen is responsible for the continuing development of the Bank’s growth strategy in this key area and has actively supported leading retailers and stakeholders in the sector to grow and develop their business in a sustainable manner.

 

Owen holds a first class honours degree in Law and Accounting from the University of Limerick and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an Associate of the Irish Taxation Institute. He previously held roles with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte.

 

 

 

Gerardo Larios Rizo joined Bank of Ireland in November 2012 after more than 15 years working in a number of roles in the hospitality sector.

 

His wealth of experience includes 7 years with the Rezidor Hospitality Group (Radisson Hotels) and over 4 years with Dalata.

 

Gerardo is now the Head of Hospitality dealing with new lending to the Hotel and Licensed Trade (Pub) sector.

 

Qualifications: Qualified Financial Advisor, BA in Hospitality, Diploma in Hospitality and an Associate Degree in Restaurant Management.

Online Public Consultation from Cork City Council about one-way pedestrian movement on four city centre streets

Dear Members,

As you may or may not be aware Cork City Council have launched an online consultation as per the details below. Submissions (https://consult.corkcity.ie/before 5 p.m. on Monday 8th June 2020).

Submissions are invited from the public, stakeholders and interested parties on this proposed one-way pedestrian movement. We have received feedback from businesses regarding the one-way pedestrian proposal expressing concern on a number of fronts.

The impact such a system would have on footfall in the street, the ability to queue on the street, the frustration of the general public on being re-directed from entering a street from a particular direction, who is going to enforce this regulation if implemented et cetera.

All businesses are working to ensure that their premises comply with public health safety requirements and the last thing businesses want to add too is more confusion to their customers which these proposals have the potential of creating.

Please engage with Cork City Council and convey your views on this matter. We would also appreciate any feedback directly from you on this issue and the Cork Business Association will communicate the collective view of businesses who respond directly back to C.C.C.

 

 

Cork City Council has  launched an online public consultation survey inviting the public, communities, businesses, and key stakeholders to have their say on the proposed implementation of one-way pedestrian movement on four city centre streets:

  • Rathmore Road
  • French Church Street & Carey’s Lane;
  • Cook Street and Marlboro Street.

This consultation forms part of a programme of measures being prepared by Cork City Council to facilitate the awakening of the local economy and to support both residents and the public in safely returning to work and commercial life in the city and town centres. Cork City Council propose to implement one-way pedestrian movement on these streets, from Friday 12th of June 2020 until the 31st of August 2020.

With phase one of the re-opening of Cork underway since Monday 18 May, Cork City Council have temporarily pedestrianised the historic Marina riverside amenity and popular retail street Oliver Plunkett Street and have also been conducting a deep clean of the city centre and Glanmire, Blarney, Douglas and Ballincollig.  A public consultation survey on the temporary closures of Pembroke Street, Paul Street and Tuckey Street closes today (Friday 29th May) at 5 p.m.

Cork City Council Assistant Chief Executive, Brian Geaney said:

As part of coping with and recovering from the Covid 19 pandemic, the city is being re-imagined as the backbone of citizen’s lives. This is a defining time in our history, with so much uncertainty we must try and do what’s best and sustainable for the future and turn this challenge into an opportunity. In doing so, it is critical that we listen carefully to all stakeholders across the city and consult all communities and sectors. We are all in this together and I sincerely hope that citizens will participate in the upcoming consultation”.

Cork City Council Director of Operations, David Joyce said:

“The new measures proposed in the public consultation documentation will involve temporary changes to the flow of pedestrian traffic in order to maintain adequate separation space for public health social distancing requirements. Our primary concern during this unprecedented time is to safely facilitate people travelling to work, education and amenities. While the proposed measures focus on protecting the health and well - being, all interventions will need to be fully considered across all stakeholder interest groups, so please take the time to visit Cork City Council’s consultation portal to have your say.”

Submissions are invited from the public, stakeholders and interested parties on this proposed one way pedestrian movement. Submissions on the proposal may be made in writing via this online consultation portal https://consult.corkcity.ie/before 5 p.m. on Monday 8th June 2020.

 

COVID 19 Business Restart Grant Details

Details regarding the Covid 19 Business Restart Grant have been announced. We have included all the information we are in receipt of from Cork City Council and this is outlined below. Further information can be received from the Cork Local Authority Business Support Unit at 021 4924000 or email restartgrant@corkcity.ie

We urge all our members to study the attached and if they consider their business is eligible then make the necessary application ASAP  Apply online for the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant. I would suggest that having studied the attached and you are still unsure as to your businesses eligibility I would still err on the side of caution and apply now. For I suspect this grant will be over subscribed and you do not want your delay in applying as being the reason your application was unsuccessful.

 

A €250 million Restart Fund has been created nationally by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  The purpose is to to help micro and small enterprises with the costs of reopening during Covid-19.  Companies can apply for a grant to Cork City Council of an amount equivalent to no more than their 2019 rates bill and there will be a cap of €10,000. The grant can be used to pay ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.

To receive the grant from Cork City Council, a business must:

  • Have an existing rate account with Cork City Council
  • Have an annual turnover of less than €5 million and employ between 1 to 50 people
  • Have closed, or incurred a projected 25% or more loss in turnover to the end June 2020
  • Commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed
  • Declare the intention to retaining employees that are on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and to reemploy staff on the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment where applicable

Apply online for the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What types of business can apply?

Subject to the qualifying criteria below, any business that has a commercially rateable premises, or where rates are paid on yourbehalf and attributable to the business premises you occupy,can apply.  

Multiple chain stores, i.e. a business that is a non-financially independent branch of a group of chain stores which is owned and managed by a single entity, are not eligible.  Non-commercial organisations such as community and sporting premises (including charity shops and community and sporting premises with a bar) are not eligible.  Businesses that do not operate from commercially rateable premises (tradesmen, service providers, etc) are not eligible.  Premises that were vacant prior to the Covid-19 emergency are not eligible for the grant.

2. How soon will I get my grant?

On average, we hope to issue approval within one week.  This depends, of course, on the initial volume of applications. Applications will be processed in relation to anticipated re-opening dates, in line with the Government’s strategy for the re-opening of the economy.

3. How much will I get?

The grant will be the amount of your rates demand in respect of calendar year 2019 only, subject to a minimum of €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000.  In the event that your rates demand was reduced on appeal, the appeal rate will apply to an amount of the grant if the grant is over €2,000.

4. If my rates demand for calendar year 2019 was less than €2,000 can I receive a grant of €2,000?

Yes

5. What can I use the grant for?

The grant is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. The grant could be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, e.g. utilities, insurance, refurbishment or for measures to ensure employee and customer safety.

6. If my premises was not rate assessed in 2019 am I eligible?

Yes.  The local authority will endeavor to assess what your rates demand for 2019 would have been and, if, for any reason, an estimate cannot be made the minimum grant of €2,000 will be paid.

7. If I have not paid my 2019 rates, am I eligible?

Yes.

8. If my rates are in arrears, am I eligible?

Yes

9. How do I apply?

The application can be made online via your local authority website.

10. How will the grant be paid?

The grant will be paid by electronic transfer to the business account detailed on the application form.

11. What are the criteria for qualifying for the grant?

A business must have a turnover of less than €5m and have 50 or less employees.

The business must have suffered a projected 25%+ loss in revenue from 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020.

The business must commit to remain open or to reopen if it was closed.  The business must also declare the intention to retain employees that are benefitting from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Businesses should retain supporting documentation as spot-checks may be carried out to verify a declaration to this effect.

12. When is the closing date?

The closing date for receipt of applications is 31 August 2020.

13. What is my Customer Number?

Your Customer Number is located on your commercial rates demand.

14. What is my Rate Number?

Your Rate Number (or LAID) is located on your commercial rates demand.

15. What is my Business Category?

Business Categories, based on the Government’s Roadmap for a phased re-opening of the economy,  are as set out below:

Phase 0 Business never closed.
Phase 1 (18 May) Hardware, garden centres, opticians, motor/cycle repairs, office products, electrical, IT equipment, phone sales/repairs, outdoor construction, public amenities.
Phase 2 Small retail outlets, marts.
Phase 3 Creches for essential workers, retail outlets with street entrance, cafes, and restaurants for on-premises consumption.
Phase 4 Creches, ‘high-risk’ services including hairdressers, tourism accommodation.
Phase 5 Bars, theatres, cinemas, gyms, shopping centres.

16. What is my Revenue Number?

Your revenue number is your Tax Registration Number (TRN) which is a business’ number for all dealings with Revenue.

17. What is a Bank Statement Header?

The bank statement header is the top of a recent bank statement indicating your business name and address and business bank account number, which should be scanned and uploaded as an attachment to the application form to verify your business name and address, and your bank account details.

18. How do I sign the form?

Applicants should type in their name and by pressing “Submit” they are confirming that all details are correct/true.

19. Do I need to submit a Tax Clearance Access Number?

If you are making applications related to a number of businesses/premises (totalling grants of €10,000 or more), or if you are supplying goods/services to the local authority, you must submit a Tax Clearance Access Number to allow your tax clearance status to be checked.

20. Where can I get more information?

Further information can be obtained from your Local Authority Business Support Unit at Phone: 021 4924000 or email restartgrant@corkcity.ie

21. If I am not happy with the decision to refuse my grant can I appeal?

Yes, any decision to refuse a grant may be appealed to appealsrestartgrant@corkcity.ie up to 30th September 2020  
Apply online for the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant

Submission against the proposed Retail Outlet Centre in Carrigtwohill

A lot has been said already about the proposed Retail Outlet Centre and CBA President Eoin O'Sullivan and CEO Lawrence Owens have commented on several media on the subject. We believe that the City Centre and the existing shopping centers should be further developed and thriving before we should want another large retail centre that will take away from an already struggling retail sector in the city.

This was the case before COVID-19 and even more so now. Underneath you will find the full submission from the CBA to Cork County Council which further explains our reasoning behind opposing this development.

 

Executive Summary

On 6th March, 2020, the Minister for Housing and Urban Planning notified Cork County Council of his intention to issue a Direction pursuant to Section 31 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). The draft Ministerial Direction related to Variation No. 2 of the Cork County Development Plan 2014 (Retail Outlet Centres).

The reasons given for the draft Direction were as follows:

  1. Variation No. 2 has not been made in a manner consistent with the recommendations of the Office of the Planning Regulator under section 31AM(8).
  2. The Cork County Development Plan 2014 as varied by Variation No. 2 purports to identify a preferred location for a retail outlet centre to serve the Cork Metropolitan Area in advance of the preparation of a joint retail strategy as required under the Guidelines on Retail Planning published by the Minister in April 2012 under Section 28 of the Act and is inconsistent with the Guidelines on Spatial Planning and National Roads published by the Minister in January 2012 under Section 28 of the Act, and therefore fails to set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

The CBA is of the view that the recent decision by Cork County Council to proceed with this change to the Cork County Development Plan 2014 is not in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of Cork and should not, in any case, be contemplated prior to the preparation by both local authorities in Cork of an updated retail strategy for the Cork region as required under retail planning guidelines.

The CBA echoes the concerns articulated by the Planning Regulator that the council’s decision was premature and resulted in a Development Plan that fails to set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of Cork which represents a breach of the legislation.

 

Introduction 

The CBA welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the draft Directive and as a key stakeholder representing over 200 businesses in the Cork City functional area [including Cork City and the retail centres of Ballincollig, Ballyvolane, Mahon, Wilton and Douglas] considers active engagement between Local Authorities and businesses as an imperative component of successful governance. Maintaining the health and viability of these key retail centres whilst ensuring the city centre is protected and safeguarded as the prime retail area and economic heart of the region is a key aim of the CBA as a high quality retail environment is a key ingredient to a successful city centre.

In keeping with the core mission and objectives of the CBA, the CBA strongly advocates any new initiatives which will create a better business environment for traders, employers, customers and tourists. With this in mind, the CBA places a high level of importance on supporting developments that serve to strengthen and enhance the city and wider city region’s retail position but equally places a high degree of importance on opposing developments which it deems will have a negative impact on the ability of the existing retail sector to remain competitive.

The CBA welcomes an evidence-based approach to new developments and welcomes the fact that a study was commissioned to examine the evidence for an Outlet Centre in the Cork Metropolitan Area.

The Study on the Requirement for Retail Outlet Centre(s) in the Cork Metropolitan Area was prepared by MacCabe Durney Barnes and Transport Insights who were appointed initially by Cork County and City Councils to prepare a Retail Study on the requirement for a Large Retail Warehouse Development in Metropolitan Cork.  The brief for the study was agreed following two meetings with Cork County Council and Cork City Council in late 2018.   Sometime after that, there was a suggestion that the study consider the need for a Retail Outlet Centre(s) specifically within the Cork Metropolitan Strategic Planning Area and Cork City. Following this transition from Warehousing to Retail Outlet, it is understood by the CBA that the study was solely commissioned by Cork County Council. This is extremely regrettable from the viewpoint of achieving the proper planning and sustainable development of the Cork Metropolitan Area as the premise for retail strategies in Cork City and County is that they are joint strategies, intended to be adopted and implemented by both local authorities, and that new developments should be measured against a set of jointly agreed principles and quantitative benchmarks.  As such, in the opinion of the CBA, the study from its inception was flawed.

 

Moreover, the entire approach to the proposed development by Cork County Council is extremely questionable: 

 

Firstly, there is no provision in the existing Joint Retail Strategy for a Retail Outlet Centre to be developed, so this proposal is completely without substantive policy support.  

 

Secondly, following the recent boundary extension of Cork city, Cork County lost a significant proportion of its rates base to the City and the revised study commissioned [without the involvement of the City Council] appears to be a concerted attempt to reclaim the revenues lost as a result of the boundary extension. 

 

Thirdly, following a clear developer-led proposal made to the council at pre planning stage for a development of a Retail Outlet Centre at Carrigtwohill, the brief of the study was changed to ‘Outlet Centre’ demonstrating the County Council’s reactive rather than proactive attitude to such a major strategic development that will have far reaching consequences for the City Centre as well as the nearby county towns in particular Midleton.  

 

There are a number of caveats as well as flaws in the report:

Site Selection Coincided with a Developer-Led Proposal

  • the report was intended to be a ‘high level strategic assessment of whether or not there is sufficient headroom to support the provision of a retail warehouse initially and retail outlet centre subsequently in the Metropolitan Cork Area and if so identify at a strategic level the sub catchment within Metropolitan Cork that is most suitable to accommodate such a facility’.

What is questionable in this instance is that a site near Carrigtwohill was brought forward by a developer at around the same time as the MDB ‘brief’ was changed from a Retail Warehouse to a Retail Outlet Centre. It is suspiciously coincidental that the study just happened to recommend the site in question in Carrigtwohill as the most suitable location for a Retail Outlet Centre, whilst blatantly omitting the city centre from the study area.

 

Loose interpretation of Policy

  • It is considered that a very loose interpretation of policy was applied in the policy review section of the MDB report. according to the report:

“The policy review has reaffirmed that the city centre/town centre first is the priority for new retail development which is in accordance with the GRP 2012 tests of the sequential approach. However, as has been highlighted, the 2018 Variation 1 of the CCoDP 2014 and in a select number of the 2017 MDLAPs introduce the policy potential for ROC/Outlet Centres being part of innovative retail formats in centres around the County. Therefore, whether the need for a ROC(s) is confirmed or otherwise in the study, the introduction of one or more could be in compliance with retail planning policy objectives.” 

This is an interpretation of current policy which is not substantiated by any evidence. There is no weighting given to the primacy of the city centre or recognition that it is the ‘first priority for new retail development’ in the consideration of locations in the city – this is a clearly not in accordance with current from policy. The relative ‘health’ of the city centre is also not considered.

 

The Exclusion of the City Centre

  • Perhaps the biggest flaw of the report is the fact that the City Centre was excluded from the site selection process when the study brief was for it to include the entire Cork Metropolitan Area [CMA],  of which the city centre is the heart.  The report suggests that the sequential test should be undertaken to ensure the city centre is recognised as the prime retail destination but fails to adequately consider same. 

There is in excess of 150 hectares of land at the docklands which was not considered, a ‘do nothing approach’ was not considered [which is a key element of any meaningful assessment of need]. Given that there is a reported 18% vacancy level in the city centre [taken from the MDB Report] – it is remarkable that the scope for the city centre to accommodate the floorspace proposed was not considered. The recent announcement that a major anchor store on Saint Patrick’s Street [Debenhams] has closed [which is estimated between at 30%-25% the size of the proposed ROC] and the fact that a number of units in the Savoy Shopping Centre and Merchants Quay Shopping Centre are vacant, as well as the entirety of the North Main Street Shopping Centre, the CBA considers that there is ample space within the city centre to accommodate the quantum of comparison retail earmarked for the site in Carrigtwohill, the sequential test mandates that it should not diverted elsewhere. 

Had the city centre been included in the study area it is almost certain that an ROC could not have been justified on the basis of the sequential test, given the availability and superior suitability of city centre locations. It is clear a sequential approach to retail provision was not considered at all.   Page 61 of the MDB report states that Cork City was excluded due to its “central location, assumed limited suitable site availability and limited reserve capacity on the City’s road network”. This is an extremely weak justification for excluding a city centre where reported and obvious largescale opportunity sites exist including large vacant shopping centres.  As vacant space in the city exists, so this development could be delivered with significantly less capital investment, in a manner which supports and not competes with the existing retail sector in Cork, and in an area that benefits from being the hub of a high quality public transport network.

 

Modal Split/Car Dependency

  • According to Table 6.3 of the Macabe Durney Barnes Report the proposed Retail Outlet Centre will be heavily car dependent with 90% of the visitors travelling to the Centre travelling by car. This is completely unsustainable and serves to undermine the €300million spent on reopening the Cork City to Midleton rail line and the recently announced CMATS [Cork Metropolitan Area Transportation Strategy] which indicates a coherent strategy for travelling to the city through the implementation of a number of park and rides and a proposed west to east light rail corridor. 

In consideration of national and international best practice, there is no policy basis or justification for a proposal which is reliant upon 90% of the visitors to the proposed development travelling by private car.  Notwithstanding the completely unsustainable nature of the proposed development, when considering traffic impact, the traffic congestion on routes leading up to the Kilcoolishal roundabout  - at times which coincide with the beginning and finishing of shifts in the factories at the IDA, Carrigtwohill Business Park and Fota Business Park - is currently bad. The network is in need of improvement and will only be significantly worsened if 90% of the proposed visitors to the Retail Outlet Centre are using the currently strained infrastructure. 

Cannot be justified on the basis of Tourism

  • In a study of Kildare Village Outlet, it was found that only 5% of people visiting Kildare Village Outlet Centre stayed in hotels yet this proposal is being justified on the basis that it will substantially increase tourism and benefit many sectors such as the hotel sector.  Given the figures from Kildare it is extremely questionable that the proposed development can be justified on that basis.  There is only 2 hotels within a kilometre radius of the site and 5 hotels within a 5km radius so if 5% of the total number of visitors is spread across those 5 hotels it will only result in a marginal increase in tourism revenue. There will likely be a food offering on site also [according to the recommendations of the report] which limits the potential overspill benefit to local restaurants.

Trade Draw

  • The application and overview of the trade draw with reference to Kildare Village Outlet Centre contained in the MDB report noted that from Kildare Town itself the trade draw was 5%, while it was 15% from Newbridge and 30% from Kildare County as a whole. 30% is a substantial figure. Based on this assumption, it suggests that the entire extended KTOV there would be a trade diversion of c9% from Newbridge. A recent health check for Newbridge suggests that the town was performing relatively well, and that vacancy rate was just under 10% of units, which were situated in the main part away from Main Street. This is compared with a current vacancy rate in Cork City centre of 18% and an assertion in the MDB report that the retail impact will only be 0.5% on the City Centre and only 0.3% on Midleton – we find this very hard to believe and the basis for calculation is questioned.  Furthermore in light of the Covid-19 crisis there is absolutely no scope to further draw any retail trade away from any of the existing retailers particularly in Cork City Centre and Midleton.

Retail Impact taken from the MDB Report

 

The need for further study

  • The study indicates that there is scope and comparison retail potential capacity to accommodate a quantum of additional comparison retail floorspace within the CMA and region at 2023. The report notes that there are issues around the rapidly changing retail environment and the impact, in particular, of online retailing on floor space demand. The report notes that in order to fully assess the recent trends [and an timely insertion would be recent economic circumstances] on future retail floorspace requirements the MDB study suggests a comprehensive householder survey of expenditure patterns in the CMA would be required.   The study illustrates through the Annual Services Inquiry than online shopping continued to hit comparison expenditure available for the high street. The capacity assessment concludes that there is a requirement for between 90,000 and 100,000 sqm of net retail comparison floor area up to 2023 within the wider catchment. It notes that the subject proposed development would account for between 13-15% of this demand. There is however only capacity for one such outlet in the CMA – given that the city centre should be the first location for new retail developments and the fact that there is space in the city to accommodate this the CBA view the proposals as premature.

 

Incorrect Assumptions 

  • The assumption made about the 2 hour catchment is questionable – Kildare Village is a 2 hour drive time away from the subject site so it is extremely questionable that an ROC could be justified on the basis of a drive time which includes a significant overlap of the catchment to another Retail Outlet Centre.  The catchment appears too generous and as such skewed the need for the ROC.

The % diversion of trade from each centre is completely questionable Midleton which is 5 minutes away and the closest town is not going to be affected the same as Ballincollig [which is on the opposite side of the city centre] as the study asserts. 

The City is already experiencing increased pressures from outside influences and in particular nearby competing centres which have improved their retail offer and attraction dramatically over the past number of years. Cork City retains a distinctive character, yet despite an attractive and vibrant city centre, the City has not benefited to the degree it should from the process of rejuvenation and redevelopment as seen in some other major urban centres. The City has not fully realised its potential to develop into a major retail centre for the region with Mahon Point in particular affecting retail trade. Whilst the City contains a good range of shops and services, and in particular independent retailers, the choice, diversity and overall mix of retail could be greatly improved, in particular the City lacks many major retail anchors and national and international fashion multiples that would normally be found in a City of this scale for example Zara, Massimo Dutti, Cos, Reiss and Bershka. The retail profile of the City is not commensurate with its status of a Gateway and significant City Centre. It is evident that the City has the potential to develop much further, if given the necessary range of actions, policy framework and economic conditions this needs to be recognised by both the City and County Councils.

 

Conclusion

Cork City is the primary tier in the retail hierarchy and the most significant urban centre in the County and region. However, the retail role of the City is vulnerable and it is envisaged that its role and function as the major retail destination in the region will continue to erode unless there is significant investment and redevelopment in the prime city centre retail core in the short term. 

In consideration of this, the CBA supports the draft Directive of the Minister pursuant to Section 31 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) relating to Variation No. 2 of the Cork County Development Plan 2014 (Retail Outlet Centres). The CBA is of the view that the recent decision by Cork County Council to proceed with a change to the Cork County Development Plan 2014 is not in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development and should not be made prior to the preparation by both local authorities in Cork of an updated retail strategy for the Cork region, as required under retail planning guidelines.

The CBA echoes the concerns articulated by the Planning Regulator that the council’s decision was premature and resulted in a Development Plan that fails to set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of Cork which represents a breach of the legislation. In the interest of the viability, prosperity and well-being of the entire region the primacy of the City Centre should be paramount in any decision-making process and to make all future policy decisions pertaining to retail developments with the best interests of the city and consequently the entire region in mind.

Government have announced details of the Restart Grant for Small Business

Dear Members,
Government have announced details of the Restart Grant for Small Business. Applications can be made from Friday 22nd May Through Cork City Council.Please read the attached and if your business fits the criteria please submit your application as soon as possible, I would anticipate that many businesses will apply for this support consequently it is critical that you apply early, don't delay.
 
Lawrence Owens
CEO
  • Direct grant aid of between €2,000 minimum and €10,000 based on commercial rates bill from 2019.
  • Scheme applies to small businesses with a turnover of under €5m and employing 50 people or less.
  • Scheme opens for applications on Friday 22 May through the Local Authorities.

 

The Government today agreed details of the new €250m Restart Grant, which will give direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures.

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.

 

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities 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.

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.

The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety.