Tralee Chamber Alliance Says Radical Decisions Needed To Support Businesses

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TRALEE Chamber Alliance has called for trust and calm as brave and radical decisions need to be made to support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.

Tralee Chamber in conjunction with its national organisation, Chambers Ireland, have been collaborating with State bodies and Government, to support the needs of the businesses to help them through the crisis.

Ken Tobin, CE of Tralee Chamber issued a statement this afternoon. It reads; “The strength and unity of the business community has been incredible over the past week, as the entire community has come together to support one another. It’s part of the DNA of businesspeople to adapt to the challenges in front of them, but the scale of this challenge for many has been overwhelming. My interaction this week the length and breadth of this country has confirmed to me that we are not alone in this.”

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“Our entire tourism, small retail, beauty and hospitality sectors are bearing the brunt of the first wave of measures that have made up the Government response to the Covid-19 epidemic. The closures and the drop in business have done immense damage to the sector their suppliers and staff, damage that will take considerable time to recover from. While other industries in Kerry have had to undergo dramatic measures to maintain business continuity to date. Huge credit must go to the grocery and pharmacy sector and their staff in maintaining operations to date, and to the corporate sector who have overcome considerable challenges as they’ve adapted to remote and social distancing working to keep our economy going.”

Tralee Chamber expressed concern that some national organisations and others have been sending out mixed messages through social media, and unfortunately releasing elements of the Governments supports before they had been fully worked through by Government which is leading to confusion amongst the business community.

“We are asking those commentating on business support measures to wait until the details of these plans are worked through and announced through Official press and Government. Declaring these measures through social media when they don’t have all the facts, is causing concern and stress for already over-burdened business owners and making our job to support these businesses even more difficult in what is already a difficult time for all of us.”

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With announcements pending on Friday of a temporary deferral of commercial rates, Tralee Chamber recognises that these deferrals are being implemented to buy time for a broader more progressive stimulus and support plan to be agreed.

Tralee Chamber recognise that this short-term deferral is only a pre-emptive measure and would urge that all local authority rates for affected businesses to be waived entirely for an extended period of time but cautioning that not every business will qualify to avail of this.

This measure would call on Government centrally to provide extraordinary funding to the local authorities to fund the deficit in rates.

“Kerry as a county receives a significant portion of our rates revenue from the businesses that have been most impacted by the crisis, and these businesses now need significant support. We are fully aware that a targeted rates holiday for the affected businesses will create an insurmountable funding issue for Kerry County Council, as it will for all local authorities, to deliver on essential services, and we have already engaged with central Government, urging them to step in to support our Local Authorities by bridging the resulting gap in expected commercial rates returns.”

“This is the biggest crisis ever to face the people and economy of Ireland, and saving our economy is going to take some fundamental expert-led measures. With some out there releasing information before the details are fully worked out, Tralee Chamber recognised the level of confusion and our team in Tralee Chamber, with the support of our colleagues in the other Chambers in Kerry and Nationally, have already implemented plans to help manage the information flow, to address concerns and to streamline the supports to businesses.”

“We hope that to date during this crisis we have been of some support to businesses in providing them some guidance and information, and we know there is still more assistance we will be providing as more measures are implemented by Government as the crisis unfolds further. Over the coming weeks we want all businesses to know they can come to us to support them through this crisis.”

State bodies such as the Revenue Commissioners and Intreo have responded promptly with the immediate measures to mitigate the impact for businesses, and Tralee Chamber have called for all State bodies to follow, while welcoming their prompt response to the calls for action for those who will be suffering cash-flow problems through the coming months.

Tralee Chamber recognise that while these emergency measures still have elements to be worked out, they recognise the commitment shown by the state agencies in this crisis, and in particular the Intreo offices in Kerry to work with the business community.

“We acted when called upon by Intreo in Kerry over the past week, to support them in ensuring employees and self-employed had their claims processed quickly, and we worked around the clock to develop a system with Intreo to fast-track claim forms for all businesses in Kerry.”

Tralee Chamber are tele-conferencing three times a week with their Chamber colleagues across the Country and are engaging with hundreds of businesses in Kerry, to firstly provide the information to support the Government in implementing immediate measures to stem the losses and support businesses that must continue operating during the crisis, and secondly so the Government can work with business organisations to develop a stimulus package that will help businesses come through on the far side of this crisis.

“Some businesses in Kerry pre-Covid19 were already finding it difficult, and across business there has been a considerable financial burden. We must now all work together on a series of radical reforms and measures to support Kerry and our businesses in the medium and long term. This is going to demand a huge amount of flexibility, calm and trust in the leadership across both the public and private sectors. There’s no doubt about it, we are all in this together”

This crisis has called on the Government to show extraordinary leadership to date to deal with the health crisis, and Tralee Chamber want to applaud the measures taken to date, while also recognising that there is a very long road ahead that will call on all of society as we face the surge of Covid19, and eventually see it pass.

It has only been one week since the first round of lock-down measures were implemented, and with hundreds of businesses across Kerry, and their employees and families already affected by closures and dramatic alteration of how they do businesses, we need to put in place an over-arching stimulus packages, and that means brave decisions need to be taken in the coming weeks ahead.

Specifically, Chambers Ireland have committed to support the Government knowing that the impact of this virus is such that what is unthinkable in the morning can become a reality by the evening. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that each of us helps mitigate the worst of this crisis, because it is only through working together that we can beat it.

“As the Government response to this crisis escalates, necessary public health measures will mean that further business sectors will be affected, and deeper damage will be done to our economy. We urge every business owner to be as flexible and supportive as they can be while these unique circumstances unfold over the coming weeks.”

One Comment

  1. Harry Hynes says:

    Well done lads a positive approach.