Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced a range of measures to support the SME sector through the pandemic.

He said he was extending the debt warehousing provisions to allow self-employed taxpayers to defer payment for a period of a year with no interest applying.

A rate of 3% would apply thereafter and there would be no surcharge.

The provision would be extended to include the 2019 balance and 2020 preliminary tax. 

Building on the measures introduced in the July Stimulus, the Minister said he was directing his department to coordinate a group comprised of representatives from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and the European Investment Fund.

The group, he said, would report to him by the middle of next month with proposals to leverage European capital and establish an equity fund with a mandate to invest in domestic, high innovation enterprises.

Pashal Donohoe said he was providing an initial €30m in funding through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to support an appropriate and effective scheme and thereby leverage matching funding for early stage seed and growth capital.

"In addition, as part of a continuing process of ensuring that our business supports remain efficient and responsive, my Department will this year initiate an assessment of how the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme can be enhanced in light of the impact of the current crisis," the Minister said.