Deputy Mattie McGrath
A Tipperary TD has accused utility companies of “plundering” businesses forced to close their doors during the Covid-19 lockdown and highlighted how a Clonmel hotel paid almost €9,000 in utility charges while it was closed during the emergency.
Independent Deputy Mattie McGrath cited the bill incurred by the hotel during a Dáíl debate last week on the Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill. The legislation was signed into law last Friday, and underpins the new Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, which will make low cost loans available to businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The Newcastle TD said the tourism industry was “on its knees” due to the Covid-19 pandemic and criticised the Government for not assisting businesses in this sector by tackling the financial pressures they are under from the insurance industry, banks and utility companies.
He described the utility charges of almost €9,000 levied on the Clonmel hotel while it was closed due to the pandemic lockdown as “daylight, night-time and 24-7 robbery”.
“It is plundering. Businesses are being plundered but the utility companies are getting away with it and are not being tackled.”
Deputy McGrath said he supported the thrust of the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme but he believed the scheme will be a failure. He claimed the scheme was “too slow and has been nobbled by the banks”. He also claimed it was not “practicable or workable”.
“They (the banks) will have control over it and we know they will do what they have always done.”
He pointed out the banks will not lend to businesses that don’t have a good credit history. “A line will be put through them straight away,” he declared.
Deputy McGrath said small employers didn’t want loans at the interest rates being offered by the Credit Guarantee Scheme.
“They should be paying no interest. They need stimulus and grants but above all they need to be allowed to live.
“The Government should cut out the cabal of the insurance companies, the banks and utility companies robbing businesses in daylight every day,” the TD added.