Minister of State Martin Heydon TD has advised SMEs and farmers in Kildare that a €330m Brexit loan scheme has opened for applications today, Friday 15 October.

The Brexit Impact Loan Scheme (BILS) is a successor to the Brexit Loan Scheme and provides low-cost loans to eligible Brexit-impacted businesses including those in the primary agriculture sector.

Loans are available between €25,000 and €1.5m and are for terms of up to six years.

The scheme was jointly launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

Welcoming the scheme, Minister Heydon said: “Irish businesses and farmers are uniquely exposed to Brexit. These loans will help businesses to mitigate the impact by providing working capital, allowing for investment, and refinancing existing loans. This Government will not be found wanting when it comes to helping businesses who are still adapting to a post-Brexit trading environment.

“In particular our agri-food sector is uniquely exposed. That is why I am pleased to see that, as well as food businesses, this scheme will now be available to farmers.”

Minister Heydon added that the new scheme would have a simplified application process in response to feedback from the Brexit Loan Scheme. BILS loans will also be available from select Credit Unions as well as retail banks.

“As Minister of State will responsibility for new market development, I am acutely aware of our dependence on the UK market. While it is important that we diversify our exports, the UK will remain an important market for us.

“Next year will bring new challenges to many Irish businesses as the UK phases in border controls. When these controls are in place it will disproportionately affect primary agriculture, and food and drink businesses. This scheme can help those businesses prepare for these challenges,” Minister Heydon concluded.