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Family businesses call for bold measures to safeguard 760,000 jobs in sector
Killarney, Co Kerry Pic: Shutterstock

24 Mar 2020 / Ireland Print

Family businesses call for safeguards for 720,000 jobs

The Family Business Network (FBN) Ireland has urged the Government to introduce a series of measures in its COVID-19 economic package to safeguard family businesses as they confront the growing economic fallout of the current crisis.  

720,000 workers are employed by family businesses in Ireland.

Continue to trade

FBN Ireland proposals include the introduction of an adaptability grant for small businesses that continue to trade by adapting their business model for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

It proposes a grant of up to €10,000 to help cafes and restaurants move to an online delivery service.  

Ireland’s leading representative body for family-owned businesses also called on Government to commit to unlimited liquidity assistance to small companies that are in need.


FBN has called for the underwriting of interest-free loans from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SCBI) and the pillar banks.   

Other measures required include:

  • Implementing a scheme akin to the UK’s where the Government will pay 80% of the salary for staff who are kept on by their employer,
  • Waiving local authority rates for three months,
  • Deferring water charges for the foreseeable future,
  • Temporarily reducing the lower rate of employer PRSI,
  • Reduce the VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sector.

John McGrane, executive director of FBN Ireland, said:

“With every hour comes the news of another family business closing its door and laying off valued employees.


“As the backbone of the local community providing 780,000 jobs, the closure of family businesses will have a devastating impact on the rural economy in particular.

“A bold response from the state is now needed. It is now critical that government use its COVID-19 economic package to keep remaining family firms open for business – many of whom provide a link to the most vulnerable in our society.  

“That can be achieved by providing unlimited liquidity for those businesses in need and giving a helping hand to businesses who are changing their business model to meet the challenges posed by public health guidelines. 


“A €10,000 adaptability grant would go some way in helping businesses to do so. 

“We must do all we can to maintain the link between family businesses and their employees.

"That’s why we are calling for the Government to follow the lead of the UK and Denmark in introducing a scheme that protects the pay of workers who are at risk of unemployment.

"In doing so, we must not discourage those seeking to play their part in the national response by taking up temporary employment in the healthcare or those taking up a job offer in other sectors that are in need protection, including Ireland’s retail sector.    

“As we come together to tackle the health and economic emergency, every effort must be made to keep family businesses alive. They have a valuable role to play both in protecting the food supply chains we need now more than ever and in fostering recovery in every corner of Ireland. 


“FBN Ireland stands ready to work with Government and others to develop a national plan for recovery and to keep our family businesses afloat over the coming weeks and months.”  

FBN Ireland is the Irish Chapter of the International Family Business Network. It was founded in 2013 by leading Irish business families and operates as an all-island organisation.

It is estimated that approximately 75% of Irish-owned firms are family businesses and that these businesses contribute over 50% of Ireland’s GDP and employ around half of the workforce.


FBN Ireland promotes the success and sustainability of family businesses in the Irish economy. It is a not for profit and non-solicitation organisation that provides a confidential forum for families to discuss and address challenges specific to family businesses.

The organization also provides advice on corporate governance and business structures along with assistance on succession planning.


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