Mayo Fine Gael TD Mayo, Deputy Michelle Mulherin, has this week welcomed the decision by the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney, to expand the criteria for eligibility for small businesses affected by recent flooding so that they can make a claim under the temporary emergency humanitarian support scheme which is being administered by the Irish Red Cross.
Deputy Mulherin said: “When the Irish Red Cross-administered scheme to assist flooded small businesses was established, some anomalies emerged. I became aware from the owners of some businesses that they had to get confirmation from Mayo County Council that the damaged premises were subject to commercial rates. This restriction excluded a small number of businesses that suffered flood damage to their premises but were not in occupation of rateable premises. This prevented them from receiving a contribution under the scheme. I highlighted this anomaly with Minister Coveney, and I am pleased with his decision to expand the scheme. It makes for fair play for those who fell between the two stools of the two schemes ensuring they receive financial assistance too.
“The Minister has confirmed to me that in the case of businesses which are not in a premises subject to commercial rates, the applicant can supply a tax clearance certificate to the Irish Red Cross, or where this is not available, recent correspondence from Revenue showing a tax registration number. The Minister’s decision follows from an earlier decision to extend eligibility for the separate Department for Social Protection scheme to landlords of flood-damaged homes, who also found themselves ineligible as they weren’t rateable premises.
"This expansion of the scheme is further indication of the Government’s continued support to alleviating the damage caused by the recent storms. The Minister has also confirmed to me that the closing date for acceptance of completed application forms has been extended to 21 February 2016. I would like to thank him for his decision and also the Irish Red Cross for their continued cooperation in administering the scheme.”