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SME Fund will mean nothing if Government won’t enforce it - Morgan

13 July, 2010

Speaking today after the publication by the Department of Finance of the lending plans for Bank of Ireland and AIB, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Arthur Morgan has welcomed the promise of credit to SMEs, but has warned that without resolute action by the Government to enforce these plans, they will mean nothing.

Deputy Morgan said:

“This Government is adept at announcing schemes and plans, but their record on seeing these through to fruition leaves much to be desired. What is being done to ensure that these plans are not just another paper weight in Government buildings?

“The publication of the lending plans for Bank of Ireland and AIB, promising to deliver at least €12billion in credit to SMEs, is welcome however unless they are accompanied by resolute action and enforcement by the Government, they will mean nothing.

“The banking system of this State is morally corrupt. No matter how many plans that are put forward, the inherent truth is that these banks are not worried about the public interest. The mandate of these institutions is to make money, and the profit motivation of the banks will always override rational considerations to lend to SMEs.

“The lending plans that were received by the Minister contained provisions specific to geography and sector, but we have not been made privy to this information. There is no guarantee that there will be regional equality in the quantity and quality of the SME loans to be made available; there is no guarantee that some of the most important indigenous sectors in this State will be prioritised to access these funds.

“While the lending plans being received by the two main banks to provide at least €12 billion in credit to SMEs is welcome, there is a strong onus on the Government to make sure that these targets are delivered. We need to see small businesses, enterprises and entrepreneurs the length and breadth of this State getting access to the much needed funds that will stimulate the ailing domestic economy that has been lagging behind.

“These plans cannot afford to be another talking shop and given that we are already 7 months into this year, these banks have a lot of ground to make up. The Irish economy cannot afford any more delays.” ENDS

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