Added July 3rd, 2020
Limerick TD and Minister for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan has confirmed that a total of €3,454,722 has been approved and paid out to Limerick businesses under the Government’s Restart Grant to aid reopening after COVID-19.
“The Government’s Restart Grant involves direct grant aid to micro and small businesses of between €2,000 and €10,000, to help with the costs associated with reopening and re-employing workers following COVID-19 closures.
“Business owners and their staff have been through incredibly difficult times recently and it is so welcome that the Government is doing everything possible to support them to open up again.
“This work was begun by Fine Gael in the last government and it is welcome that the new Government is prioritising the recovery from the economic shock of Covid-19. They are working to repair the damage that has been done and restore confidence and prosperity. Small businesses will play a huge role in that as they are the lifeblood of the local economy.
“The latest figures from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, now headed up by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, show that €3,454,722 has been approved and paid to businesses in Limerick since the Restart Grant was formed. This is the highest amount paid out of all the local authority areas in the Country so far.
“These targeted supports that have been developed by the Department in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, will be available to companies of including micro enterprises, SMEs, and sectors most exposed with a focus on food, manufacturing and internationally traded services including exporters and importers.
“This is in addition to a range of other supports for businesses to help them through the pandemic. The July Jobs Initiative, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will help to bolster our economy and get people back to work as quickly as possible. It will enhance and add to the existing measures totalling €12 billion in supports for Covid-19 impacted businesses already announced. For example, this week Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced that 183 retailers have been approved for €6.5 million in funding as part of the Online Retail Scheme, which is targeted at online retailers to strengthen their online offering and enable them to reach a wider customer base.
“Other measures include the Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), liquidity supports such as 0% finance for 6 months from MicroFinance Ireland, rates waivers from local authorities and the warehousing of tax liabili-ties of SMEs by Revenue.
“The Restart Grant is being rolled out through the Local Authorities across the country so Limerick City & County Council has a crucial role here.
“Impacted firms that are in rateable premises can apply to Limerick City & County Council for grant support of between €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000 equivalent to their rates bill of 2019.
“The application form for the Restart Grant is available on the Council’s website. I encourage all micro and small business owners in Limerick to take a look at the website and apply for the grant to help them get back on their feet after COVID-19.”
€1.5million in funding for Limerick project under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund – O’Donovan
Added June 29th, 2020
Limerick Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has welcomed funding of €1.5million which has been allocated for projects in Limerick under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
The Fund is part of the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment Programme which is funded under Project Ireland 2040 and provides €1 billion in investment over 10 years to support the regeneration and development of rural towns, villages and outlying areas.
Patrick O’Donovan said: “The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the scale of investment necessary to allow rural communities to further develop and prosper.
“This investment is more important than ever to help address the challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis and to drive economic recovery and sustainable development in rural areas.
“The Category 2 funding announced today is for projects that require further development to make them ready for construction. There can be significant work and expense involved in getting projects to the point where they are ready to be delivered.
“This support is critical to ensure that a pipeline of ambitious regeneration projects are ready to hit the ground running in the future. The funding announced today will go towards dereliction and re-use for housing development in the core of towns and villages in rural Limerick. It will cover Newcastle West, Rathkeale, Abbeyfeale, Askeaton, Ardagh, Kilmalloock, Croom, Bruff, Kilfinane and Ballingarry. The total project cost will be €2million. Limerick City and County Council will lead this project.”
“The project announced today and the projects already approved under the Fund will continue to make a significant and tangible contribution to economic recovery in Rural Ireland over the months ahead.
“This Fund has now made available over €161 million in funding for projects worth a combined total of €229 million. This funding is supporting jobs in every sector within the construction industry, most particularly for many companies, contractors and individuals who are themselves based in rural towns and villages here in Limerick. In turn, as these projects are delivered, they will help support community development, enterprise development, town centre retail and activity, and assist our tourism industry to rebound strongly.”
Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises in Limerick to receive €833,766 to provide essential services during Covid-19 – O’Donovan
Added June 26th, 2020
Limerick Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has announced that 14 Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises in Limerick will receive €833,766 between them in funding to help vulnerable citizens during Covid-19.
“I am delighted that my colleague, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, TD, has allocated €10.5 million under Tranche One of the COVID-19 Stability Fund to a total of 179 organisations that provide critical services to those most vulnerable in society.”
“The COVID-19 Stability Fund is intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19.”
“There was considerable interest in the Stability Scheme, and the funding being announced today is the first tranche, with further tranches due to be announced in the coming weeks.”
“Community and Voluntary organisations, along with Charities and Social Enterprises here in Limerick have gone above and beyond in their response to the challenges presented by this pandemic and to assisting those most vulnerable in our communities.”
“These organisations continued to carry out their essential work while restrictions stalled much activity in Limerick and I, along with my colleagues in Government, commend them for that. For that reason, I am delighted that 14 organisations in Limerick will receive €833,766 in funding to provide services.
Cliona’s Foundation €100,474
Croom Community Hall €68,977
Ennis Road Community First Responders €2,000
Garryowen Community Development Project €14,276
Gateway to Education Limerick Education €16,584
Learning Hub Limerick Ltd €42,473
Limerick Autism Group Company Limited By Guarantee €14,323
Limerick Island Community Partners CLG €79,737
Mid West Simon Community €187,677
Mobile IT Limited Education €14,735
Patrickswell Community Resource House €14,118
The Butterfly Club CLG €18,412
The Desmond Ability Resource Complex Company Limited By Guarantee €59,978
Treaty Steel €200,000
“The Government recognised that these organisations required help and additional resources to deliver these essential services and to cope with the inability to generate traded or fundraised income due to social restrictions.
“Following the announcement of a €40 million funding package for the sector, applications were invited for the €35 million Stability Scheme. The Stability Scheme, which is administered by Pobal, opened for applications from 11th – 21st May, with a total of 1,027 applications were received in that period.
“Pobal will contact successful applicants in the coming days to finalise contracts and facilities for payment of funding. Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said, “The sector reached out and asked for help, which is why I, along with other Departments, committed up to €35 million of Dormant Accounts Funding to help these organisations to keep the lights on, and keep delivering those critical services to the people that depend on them.
“I am delighted to make the first tranche of payments available today and hope to see many more funded in the coming days and weeks as my officials and Pobal complete final checks.
Added June 22nd, 2020
Limerick TD and Minister Patrick O’Donovan has said that he believes that the Government needs to re-examine guidelines in respect of the re-opening of Church’s and he said he has spoken both to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health on the matter.
“Over the last few days several people have contacted me in relation to the opening of church’s particularly around the issue of fifty people per church regardless of size. They have contrasted some of our large church’s with seating capacity of over one thousand to smaller ones with maybe enough seats for two hundred, yet the same rules apply.”
“I made that point over the weekend to both the Taoiseach and Simon Harris; both understood the issue, and both said it is the correct course of action for the National Public Health Emergency Team to look at the issue. I hope that there will be early clarification for the various denominations soon, so that when they re-open they can take particular size and context of their church into consideration.”
Patrick O’Donovan said that he was heartened by the responses of the community to the reopening of the country, but he said we need to be reminded from events in other countries in the past few days that the virus can come back and make a resurgence in the community. He also added that we need to remember that over 1700 people had now lost their lives to COVID-19 and that the virus had not gone away, and that we all needed to remain vigilant.
Added June 17th, 2020
If you can’t talk about it, text about it
A free, anonymous and inclusive text service has been launched to provide support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis, Fine Gael Minister and Limerick TD, Patrick O’Donovan has said.
Minister O’Donovan said: “‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people who need it.
“Many people – particularly young people – don’t feel comfortable making that call or reaching out for help. This is a service that will offer a lifeline to people of all ages across Limerick and indeed across the country.”
“It’s been an exceptionally difficult time for our country, and this service is needed more than ever. There is no doubt the launch of 50808 by Crisis Text Line will save lives.”
Deputy Patrick O’Donovan continued: “50808 has been in development for some time, and it couldn’t launch at a more important moment. The service’s trained Crisis Volunteers will help people through this current crisis and will continue to provide free, 24/7 support in the long term. This life-saving service is part of the government’s strategy to protect the mental health of all members of the public.”
“I’d like to commend my Fine Gael colleagues, the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly for prioritising this essential service.
“Since the initiative began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations. It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational.
“Of the almost four thousand people supported;
● 832 people were thinking about suicide
● 360 people were self-harming
● The top issues discussed were: Anxiety/stress (40%), Depression/sadness (32%), Relationships (29%), Isolation/loneliness (23%) and Suicide (18%)
● 80% of texters have been between the ages of 16 and 34
● 65% of texters were female, 24% male, 2% transgender and 2% non-binary
● 30% of texters identified as LGBTI+
● 35% of texters are living with a disability, an existing mental health condition, or other medical condition
● Reasons for texting: Didn’t have anyone else to talk to (50%), Wanted to talk to someone who didn’t know me (48%), More comfortable texting than talking (40%), To embarrassed to talk on the phone or in person (31%), Didn’t have access to a therapist (31%)
“The service uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyse a texter’s initial message, scanning keywords, phrases, and even emojis to determine the level of severity. The texter’s at most imminent risk are placed at the top of the queue.”
“50808 has performed over 100 “Active Rescues” since beginning in pilot phase in September 2019 in which the National Ambulance Service is contacted for a texter in need of emergency support. The service allows trained Crisis Volunteers to volunteer from home. Crisis Volunteers complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time mental health professionals.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenging time for us all. If you need to talk, please pick up the phone and text 50808 where you will be connected to a trained and compassionate volunteer. The service is available 24/7.”
● 50808 is a first of its kind for Ireland: a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small. From breakups or bullying, to anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings, our Crisis Volunteers are available 24/7 for anonymous text conversations. Our aim is to provide immediate support in the short term and connect people to resources that will help them in the future.
Beef farmers in Limerick to benefit from a financial support package in response to Covid-19 – O’Donovan
Added June 13th, 2020
A €50m support scheme will be made available to beef farmers in Limerick who have been financially affected by Covid-19, Limerick Minister and Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has said.
“My colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced Cabinet approval for an allocation of €50 million for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19.
“The Irish beef sector has suffered from ongoing market disturbance related to this pandemic which has had a substantial impact for beef farmers in Limerick and for the rural economy as a whole.
“Fine Gael has been making every effort to assist people whose incomes have been affected by restrictions brought in to ensure the health and safety of all and by economic developments globally. I hope that the support package announced today will go some way to restoring the livelihoods of farmers in Limerick and their families.
“This support for the beef sector is an emergency response to a dramatic economic shock and to mitigate the worst Covid-19 economic impacts on these farm enterprises.
“Beef farming is a significant economic contributor to the local economy here in Limerick, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining our communities as we recover from the economic effects of Covid-19. Farming is very important to Fine Gael and we will always work to represent farmers’ interests.
“Minister Creed has confirmed to me his department will be engaging with stakeholders regarding the details of the scheme to be developed, which must also submitted to the EU for state aid approval under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.
“A meeting of the Beef Taskforce will also be planned for the end of June, to take place by video conference in light of Covid-19 restrictions”.
Added May 18th, 2020
Limerick Minister and local TD, Patrick O’Donovan has urged small and micro businesses across Limerick County to apply for the new €250m Restart Grant, which will give direct grant aid to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures.
Deputy O’Donovan said: “The Grant will be available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover out to 30th June 2020.
“It is a contribution towards the cost of re-opening or keeping a business operational and re-connecting with employees and customers. “The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000. I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing small businesses in County Limerick during these challenging times.”
“The Restart Grant is designed to help these businesses get back on their feet. The grant can be used to defray ongoing fixed costs, for replenishing stock and for measures needed to ensure employee and customer safety. Small businesses, whether it be the local hairdresser, café or clothes shop, are absolutely vital to the social fabric of our towns and villages throughout County Limerick. In response to the very significant economic challenges posed by Covid-19, the Government has moved swiftly to introduce a range of measures to support enterprises of all sizes.”
“These measures have included supports for wage costs, liquidity supports and the deferral or waiver of payments. The Restart Grant will further help to support activity and employment across County Limerick.”
Applications for the Restart Grant can be made online to local authorities from Friday 22nd May. Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap.
This direct grant support is part of the wider €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst our SMEs.
Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises in Limerick urged to apply for €35 million COVID-19 Stability Fund – O’Donovan
Added May 13th, 2020
Limerick Minister and Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has urged Community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises in Limerick to for funding under the €35 million COVID-19 Stability Fund.
Minister O’Donovan said: “Following last Friday’s announcement of a €40 million funding package for the sector, applications are now being invited from today for the €35 million Stability Fund.
“The funding will be prioritised for those organisations which are most in need and have seen their trading and/or fundraising income drop significantly during the crisis.
“The Fund will provide immediate, short-term cash flow to qualifying organisations which provide critical services to those most vulnerable in society and allow them to maintain their valuable services.
“As a society we depend greatly on these organisations and I would like to thank them for their contribution to the inspiring community response to the current crisis in Limerick.”
“The funding for this initiative will be provided from the Dormant Accounts Fund and will provide a once-off grant to qualifying organisations. The Fund will focus on organisations providing supports and services in the following sectors:
● Health and Social Care (including addiction, disability and mental health)
● Child and Family Services (including counselling/therapies)
● Domestic/Sexual/Gender based violence
● Community Services (e.g. meals on wheels/befriending services/old age supports/vulnerable people’s support groups etc.)
● Community Education Sector
Minister O’Donovan continued: “The application process for the Stability Fund is straightforward. It will be open for a period of ten days in order to facilitate organisations that wish to be considered for funding. A link to the application process can be found on the Department of Rural and Community Development’s website.
“Pobal have also prepared full additional information regarding the application process which can also be found at that link.
“I would encourage all eligible charities, social enterprises and community and voluntary organisations here in County Limerick to fully engage with the application process and contact Pobal at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
Added April 20th, 2020
Minister Patrick O’Donovan is encouraging older people who are currently cocooned during the current Corona Virus Pandemic, to consider applying for financial assistance under the Red Cross and Age Action Hardship Fund. The fund is designed to help people who experiencing difficulties at the moment, with a once off €500 grant towards costs that they may currently be experiencing.
The scheme is designed for assist people with; providing technology like iPads and smart phones for people who might like to WhatsApp or video message their family and friends, upgrades to appliances, contribution towards additional security costs in the home, utility bills and other costs.
“This is a very good scheme and is designed to help people who are currently cocooned at home. I particularly welcome the fact that the grant can be used to purchase phone or tablets, because I know from dealing with people across the County, that many of our elderly residents do not have smart devices, and this grant will certainly help them to purchase one. It will allow them to see family and friends and will go a long way to helping to reduce isolation.”
Carers, social workers, community groups, and voluntary organisations providing assistance to older people can also apply.
People can apply online for the grant by emailing email@example.com They can also call Patrick O’Donovan’s office on 069-77998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and an application form can be emailed or posted out. Patrick O’Donovan’s office is also available throughout the pandemic to provide information and assistance on the operation of this grant scheme and other matters.
The closing date for applications is 31st August 2020.*
*The Closing date for these applications was brought forward to April 24th due to the large volume of applications recieved.
Added January 10th, 2020
Limerick Minister Patrick O’Donovan has announced funding of over €1.9million for two sports projects in Co. Limerick. The athletics track in Newcastle West has been allocated over €1.25million and the swimming pool in Askeaton has received over €650,000.
“I am delighted to have been able to deliver this funding to Limerick as the local Minister. These are projects that I led as Minister for Sport. I worked with Limerick City and County Council from the very start to get both of these commenced and I’m delighted now to see them move on.”
“Both of these are being funded by my department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform through Project Ireland 2040, so to have such a massive investment as this come to Limerick is just fantastic.”
“Over the last few years we have been able to see major investment into a number of different towns and communities. This is the latest in a string of them. I’m delighted to have been able to be successful in getting these sorted and I look forward now to the next phases in both.”