At most one in nine small and medium businesses in Ireland are affected by constraints on lending available to them, according to new analysis by ESRI researchers.

Based on research and surveys undertaken by the ECB and the Department of Finance, the ESRI concludes that the fall in demand and the impact of competition are the two most significant concerns for SMEs.

It says credit constraints, or difficulties in accessing finance, are third on the list of priorities identified by businesses in the sector.

In a presentation due to be delivered at a conference on SME financing in Dublin this morning, ESRI researchers say credit constraints affect "at most one in nine SMEs".

Those constraints included firms being denied credit for reasons which have nothing to do with the company making the application, or where firms do not apply for loans in the first place because they believe they will be rejected.

But, the researchers conclude that the overall effect of credit constraints on investment and employment is "probably small".