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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure IE-2020-14/791 – measures in Ireland

Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 business loan

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 26 April 2020 (updated 03 February 2022)

Background information

The COVID-19 business loan from Microfinance Ireland is a government initiative to support microenterprises through the period of economic uncertainty following the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland.

If the business is impacted or may be impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in actual or projected turnover or profit and there is difficulty in accessing finance from commercial lending providers, the MFI COVID-19 business loan is available.

Content of measure

Eligible applicants are microenterprises (that is, businesses with less than 10 full time employees operating as sole traders, partnership or limited companies and with up to €2 million annual turnover) which are currently trading, are not in a position to avail of bank finance and are experiencing a COVID-19 negative impact on their business (minimum of 15% of actual or projected in turnover or profit).

Loans may be used for working capital and required business changes as a result of COVID-19.

Loans of up to €50,000 can be made available with a loan term of up to three years and under advantageous terms (six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period; interest rate 4.5% - 5.5%; no hidden fees and no penalty for early repayment).

Use of measure

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: 1,015 applications were received for the scheme. As of 31 December 2020, 687 were approved with a total value of €18.68 million.

According to COVID-19 and Brexit Business Supports Tracker 2021, 428 loans were approved in phase 2 at a value of €7.77 million.

According to COVID-19 and Brexit Business Supports Tracker 2022 (as of 7 January 2022), 458 loans were approved in phase 2 at a value of €8.27 million.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers One person or microenterprises
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions

No involvement of social partners.



Eurofound (2020), Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 business loan, measure IE-2020-14/791 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.