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Irish government opens €300m Brexit loan scheme

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Irish business minister Heather Humphreys in February. Photo: PA

The Irish government’s new €300m (£260m) Brexit-related loan scheme for both farmers and small and medium-sized businesses has opened for applications.

Introduced to “support strategic long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment,” the Future Growth Loan Scheme will allow companies with less than 250 employees to access loans of up to €3m.

Borrowers will not need to provide collateral for loans under €500,000. Interest rates are capped at 4.5% for loans up to €250,000, and 3.5% for loans higher than that.

Though three of Ireland’s big retail banks — AIB, Bank of Ireland, and KBC — will participate in the scheme, applications will be accepted through the state’s strategic banking corporation.

The corporation’s main goal is to ensure that Irish businesses have access to flexible funding. This particular scheme is partly designed to give young and new farmers the ability to invest in equipment, research and development, and expansion, among other things.

Irish business minister Heather Humphreys said she was “pleased” at the level of interest from finance providers.

“It is likely that we will have five banks offering the scheme — which means more choice for Irish businesses,” Humphreys said.

Both the European Investment Bank and the European Commission are partners in the scheme.

Ireland’s state agencies have been engaged in extensive Brexit planning, with packed-out “Getting Ireland Brexit Ready” workshops being held across the country.