31 March 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Independent Cork City Councillor Cllr. Ken O’ Flynn says that the government needs to engage with the media industry at local, regional and national level as it is at crisis point and many media companies may not survive this crisis unless something unique is done for it.
“I am calling for the government to look at the media industry as a very separate case as the service that it provides is unique in keeping people up to date with news and facts and must be preserved at this critical time and also for the future when we will need to sell the positive message of every part of Ireland being open for business. Advertising revenue which is the mainstay of the media industry has collapsed and many of the businesses at local and regional level have closed temporarily which is not something that villages, towns and counties need at this time. They need these businesses to remain operational so that they can report the news and more importantly support their communities and the businesses that will open up again in their area once this crisis is over. I believe a separate stimulus package needs to be looked at for the media industry and perhaps the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) could be put in funds to offer very low-cost loans of 1% interest to the sector on the same basis as the recent SBCI Future Growth Loan Scheme was offered with the key banks administering it. I also believe that red tape needs to be eliminated for any such fund and the only criteria for drawing down these loans of €100,000 upwards should be that they are for existing viable businesses that employ people and that can restart their businesses immediately in some way and start getting news out again. I have spoken to a number of small and medium local media businesses in recent weeks and they are very fearful of not being able to open up again so we need to address this urgently as every community needs them.” Cllr. O’ Flynn said.