Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.35 18 Oct 2020


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The head of IBEC says uncertainty around potential coronavirus lockdowns is hurting businesses, both psychologically and culturally.

CEO Danny McCoy was speaking after lengthy meetings broke up on Saturday without any agreement on whether or not to implement a level five nationwide lockdown.

It will be Monday evening at the earliest before we know whether a second lockdown will be approved by the Government.

Mr McCoy told Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh there is uncertainty for businesses on two fronts.

"There's the uncertainty of trying to plan - so we find ourselves in limbo again - and this limbo on this occasion you could say reflects that the Government is actually thinking more widely than just the COVID aspect that NPHET are bringing forward, so in a sense that's good.

"The budget this week as well actually gives the firepower to try and help out those businesses who maybe further restricted.

"But the fundamental issue is the stop-go nature of this: the shutting down that's likely to occur for many who'll be deemed non-essential but have to work outside of home is pretty devastating for those businesses.

"The cash-flow maybe addressed by the Government's capacity in the budget, but there's so much more that gets damaged in this type of uncertainty.

"So you've got the fundamental uncertainty of being shut down, and then these days where you're just left not knowing what's going to happen.

"So there's psychological damage to the individuals involved, but also the culture in those businesses I think is pretty devastating".

Budget supports

He said at the start of the pandemic, there was criticism that Ireland was not using the same scale of resources as in other places.

But the budget has changed that.

"We always thought that the Government actually was bringing the appropriate level of support, but it wasn't maybe getting the right kind of channels to businesses and quickly.

"And I think that they've actually managed to do that in contrast to other jurisdictions - and now with the budget, the actual scale is there as well".

"I think the Irish Government has got the budgetary capacity now in place, so I'd be fairly confident that they would be able to make good - or partially good I suppose in some cases - for businesses.

"But that's still an awful circumstance for most people trying to run their businesses this winter".

'Wholly inadequate' process

He also criticised the decision-making processes involved in any potential lockdown.

"Again, I think the Government have reacted to the measures that'd be required once the restrictions are in place, but I think that the process on which we get to these decision points are still wholly inadequate.

"So again NPHET makes a recommendation that leaks out into the public domain, we're either left with hours - or now in this case, this weekend, days - where we don't know what's going to happen.

"And then a decision, possibly, tomorrow evening will be made - and at best it'll be about 28 hours notice, or maybe just four hours notice.

"So that kind of consultation about how to plan for the particular measures and give people time still remains inadequate".

'Psychological uncertainty' around lockdowns hurting businesses - IBEC

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: A closed business is seen in Dublin city. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Coronavirus Coronavirus Lockdown Danny McCoy IBEC Lockdowns Newstalk Breakfast Uncertainty Uncertainty For Business

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