Fáilte Ireland has launched its €26m Covid-19 Adaptation Fund today after Tourism Minister Catherine Martin secured the funding as part of the Government's July stimulus package.  

Grants of up to €15,000 will be available to tourism and hospitality businesses, to offset some of the costs they incurred in adapting their premises for re-opening.

Applications will remain open until October 8. 

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mary Stack, Head of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, said they estimate that around 12,000 businesses will be eligible to apply for funding.

"Tourism is a very broad sector, so it covers everything from our visitor attractions of all shapes and sizes, all types of accommodation providers, activity providers, bars and restaurants," she said.

Ms Stack said the amount of funding a business will receive will be determined by its size and the type of costs incurred.

"A bike operator with around 30 bikes has incurred very different costs to a 300 bedroom hotel, so the grant amounts range from between €500 and €15,000," she said.

The grants will cover costs incurred as a result structural adaptations, Ms Stack explained.

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"The cost of structural barriers and screens, outdoor furniture and new online booking systems will be among the costs covered under this fund."

For businesses that do not have a fixed premises, Ms Stack said the fund will cover other expenses.

"We want to cover our activity providers around the country and they may not have a premises but they will have safety gear and equipment. So we cover costs like safety equipment and sanitiser for those types of businesses," she said.

Businesses must tick a number of boxes in order to be eligible to apply, as Ms Stack explained.

"Businesses must be open at the time of application in order to be eligible for the fund. You must have implemented the reopening guidelines issued by Fáilte Ireland and you must have obtained the safety charter, which is a way to communicate to your customers that you have implemented all those measures," she said.

When asked if the controversy surrounding the resignation of the agency's chairman Michael Cawley at the weekend had damaged the work of Fáilte Ireland, Ms Stack said its reputation still stands.

"We know we are highly regarded by our stakeholders. We won't be distracted by this because know more than ever we are needed. The launch of the Covid-19 Adaptation Fund today signals that this is where our focus has been, on providing funding for tourism providers that really need it at the moment," she said.

On Saturday, Minister Catherine Martin accepted Michael Cawley's resignation after it emerged he was on holiday in Italy, despite Government advice to avoid non-essential travel abroad.