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Level 5 – SMEs need to act now

Dear Member,

As you know, Ireland enters Level 5 of its ‘Living with Covid-19’ plan tomorrow, Wednesday 21st October, at midnight. You can find out what this means for your business here.

ISME has deliberately not entered the fray on challenging public health guidance, until now. Things have changed with this latest lockdown, and we ask for your assistance in explaining the problem to our politicians, who seem incapable of independent thought, or of challenging the output from NPHET.

You also know we have fought hard for SME liquidity, for a sensible business restart plan, and for access to an affordable examinership regime for small business. Unfortunately, it nooks like we’re going to need ‘Examinership Lite’ sooner rather than later.

The fact that so many businesses are being kept on ‘life-support’ by wage subsidies and bank forbearance does not mean that all will be viable when this crisis ends. Inter-company debts are mounting.

Your legal duties as a business director are clear, and if liquidation of your business at this stage makes more sense from the point of view of your shareholders and your creditors, then you must consider this. Our advice is to:

  1. Engage with your professional advisors and assess whether you can still operate as a going concern, or whether winding up your business in an orderly fashion is the more appropriate course.
  2. When your business is ready to do so, engage with your staff and brief them as frankly as you can on what your business is facing and what it means for them.
  3. Based on the Taoiseach’s address last night, you need to consider your ability to withstand a follow-up closure between December and next April / May. There does not appear to be a ‘Plan  B’ to tackle Covid other than repeated lockdowns.

We are pressing as hard as we can to have an affordable examinership regime in place before Christmas for those businesses that can be saved.

Meanwhile, we are asking for your help NOW in contacting your local TDs and Ministers. You will find their contact details here

Please amend the template below and send to your own representatives TODAY.

Thank you,


Dear XXXX 
ISME and our member companies are part of the community, we do not want to see the spread of COVID any more than you do. Our business is _____ and we employ _____ people in your constituencySince March, the WHO have been saying we must find this virus, chase it down and tackle it at source.

We see that Test & Trace has completely failed.  Faster tests such as Antigen tests have not been rolled out, despite evidence that it is working cheaply and effectively in other countries. 
We appear to have completely given up on contact tracing. We see large-scale social gatherings and protests taking place against public health guidance, and no enforcement against them.

Many people are behaving recklessly, some are becoming super-spreaders, and yet there are no consequences for them. 
Your own HSE data here does not show our sector as a large-scale outbreak location.
Yet we are being closed down as we enter a critical time of year, and without any public plan about what will happen when this lockdown ends in December.

This feels like collective punishment to us. 
Everyone on NPHET is on the public payroll, and none suffer the financial consequences of giving bad advice to Government.

We demand a plan (other than repeatedly closing down our business) to tackle Covid.

Yours Sincerely,