Business minister Heather Humphreys will shortly publish the Industrial Development (Amendment) Bill 2019.
The bill provides for further enhancements to the suite of ongoing Brexit supports, to a range of business sectors.
It will empower Enterprise Ireland to make loans to client companies for the first time in certain circumstances. The Bill will also increase the ability of Enterprise Ireland to provide R&D grants to help companies to diversify their offering, including the agri-food sector.
The bill also contains several technical amendments to existing legislation. In a ‘no deal Brexit’ scenario only, the proposals would increase the overall funding which Microfinance Ireland (MFI) may receive in its lifetime by €10 million, from €25 million to €35 million.
The bill is aimed at increasing the ability of Enterprise Ireland to provide a competitive, flexible and enhanced offering to its client companies in terms of research, development and innovation grants. It will allow Enterprise Ireland to grant-aid the horticulture sector for the first time.
The Bill will also provide for a technical amendment to Section 5(2) of the Microenterprise Loan Fund Act, 2012.
Section 5 currently caps the equity that Microfinance Ireland can receive at €25 million (providing for a grant of €10 million under section 5(1) and a further €15 million under section 5(2)). The amendment will increase this cap by €10 million to a total of €35 million.
The bill will also introduce a technical amendment to increase the overall capital funding allowance that can be provided to IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland – in their combined lifetime - from €7 billion to €14 billion.
Government sources said that this is something that would need to be done anyway, irrespective of Brexit.