Despite the incredibly tough year we’ve had and the current level 5 lockdown, we’re starting to sense a little more optimism within our industry since our last communication. Perhaps it’s that 2020 is soon drawing to a close, the increasingly positive drop in cases for Ireland or the talk of a vaccine evermore imminent. Whatever the reason, we are hopeful that this optimism will grow and bring better and brighter times ahead for our industry.
A huge amount of work has been done by EII on behalf of our Industry and our members. Real and meaningful engagement with Government, ministers, lobbyists and other professional bodies continues. Moreover as of yet and despite subsequent commitments by party leaders budget 2021 did not yet yield the supports we had been hoping for. In particular, the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) scope of edibility needs to be extended to include our sector. We are told that it is aimed at businesses that have either been prohibited from operating or have only been able to trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed. It claims to offer a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to affected businesses and it will operate when Level 3 or higher of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 is in operation. Our industry has been under restriction since March 12th and needless to say turnover is significantly less than the 2019 period. Prohibiting us from accessing this vital fund is completely unfair.
We’ll keep this brief. We need you, our members, to help widen our reach and ensure our voices are heard loud and clear. There is strength in our numbers. We’re asking that you send the letter box, to your local TD’s as a matter of urgency. It is vital that we continue sustained and active campaigning. We won’t succeed otherwise.
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) omits the business event industry
Dear Oireachtas Member,
As a business events company in your constituency with X people employed and a member of the sector’s representative body Event Industry Ireland (EII), I am writing to you with a deep sense of urgency to ask you to use your platform in the Oireachtas to take urgent action on the industry’s behalf to save it from irretrievable ruin. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the resulting lockdown and Government imposed restrictions, our industry is at a standstill and requires direct intervention.
Despite these government imposed measures and subsequent commitments by Party Leaders that industries uniquely impacted by the pandemic would be compensated, Budget 2021 failed to provide direct support to us. The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe announced a much lauded Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) aimed at businesses that have either been prohibited from operating or have only been able to trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to Covid-19. It purports to offer a targeted, timely and temporary sector-specific support to affected businesses and it will operate when Level 3 or higher of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 is in operation. Our business has been under restriction since March 12th last and our turnover is less than 20% of the equivalent period in 2019 so excluding us from a fund designed to help the worst impacted sectors as a result of Government enforced guidelines is unfair, unjust and is an inequitable response.
In particular, a critical part of the discussion needs to be around how to prevent business event companies from failing. Government, unfortunately, has been completely silent on how to financially ‘hibernate’ such companies until activity resumes. Successfully “hibernating” as a way of avoiding the economic costs of breaking firms’ valuable relationships with their stakeholders and going into bankruptcy demands that the Government must extend the CRSS eligibility criteria to ensure that financial support is available to the affected firms to get them through this period.
Therefore, as my local representative, I am calling on you to urgently raise the plight of the business events industry with the relevant Ministers in Government; the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin TD and ask them to ensure that viable business in our sector are eligible to access the CRSS scheme in order to keep workers employed and bring us back together when the time is right.
We would also respectively ask that you consider raising this critical matter in the Dail/Seanad and at your weekly parliamentary party meeting where appropriate. The situation for business events sector is only worsening as this Covid-19 crisis continues. Our livelihoods are at stake and acting now to address the inadequacies of Budget 2021 will help secure our future and all the thousands of jobs that depend on us.
I look forward to hearing from you on this very important matter at your earliest convenience.
[NAME OF BUSINESS]