ISME has said that although Covid-19 remains a significant threat within our society, we need to plan the reboot of the economy now. 

According to ISME, getting the country back to work will need three distinct pieces of work.

These include an aggressive plan to supply liquidity for SMEs, affordable access to the examinership process and a strategy for businesses and citizens to return to work.

ISME said the country has no Plan B for the Exchequer if large numbers of small and medium sized enterprises cease trading over the next few months. 

ISME said that SMEs have a huge systemic importance to the Irish economy as they provide more than half of Ireland's income tax, PRSI and USC.

Irish SMEs also return almost two-thirds of Ireland's VAT take and they also employ two-thirds of workers in the whole economy, and three-quarters of the workers in the value-adding part of the economy.

Neil McDonnell, ISME's chief executive said that thousands of Irish businesses have been starved of cash for almost two months due to Covid-19. 

"The vast majority of these are viable, profitable businesses, which have simply been prevented from trading. These SMEs are risk and debt averse, and therefore putting more debt onto their balance sheets is not a solution to their liquidity problem," Mr McDonnell said. 

"These viable businesses need grant assistance to keep them afloat until trading can restart. Any debt they take on needs to be on the softest of terms, and at zero or negative rates," he added.

He also said that country's "well-developed" examinership regime is too expensive and too slow for SMEs to avail of and to this end, ISME has proposed procedural amendments to the examinership system that would make it more affordable for SMEs. 

"ISME are urging the Oireachtas to prioritise this legislation in order to allow as many SMEs as possible to avail of examinership protections," Neil McDonnell said.