Restart grant issues

The darkyfinn

New Member
I applied for the restart grant and was rejected, and again after appeal. As background I set a company up 3yrs ago and I put a commercial property under its ownership to develop and launch a recreational / activity type centre. Since early 2018 I put in considerable investment to get this off the ground and had a small turnover last yr although the premises was not fully operational and open to the public (income was fees related to an element of its operation). The plan was to have it fully operational at the start of this yr.

Reject reason provided
application was refused because the business wasn’t open and trading pre Covid. Part of the criteria is that a business should have been operating in March and closed as a direct result of the COVID pandemic to qualify for the grant

Response I provided
1. The business has been a commercial trading entity since 2017 and is active and has up to date accounts last submitted May 2020. Note: the council had taken an action to review the criteria on 'trading' with the department DBEI (the council/department have not shared the criteria used to date after several attempts to get it). I also copied in the vision net summary for objective evidence (accounts, turnover, development costs etc. all in the public domain). And on the last piece of the rejection it was pretty obvious it is closed because of COVID.

Neither the Council or the DBEI have responded to this (Council just said they upheld original decision without substantiating it). I am happy that I have met the criteria - copied below:

- Be a commercial, trading, entity; Yes Company is trading since 2018 which this premises is contained wholly therein and has been developed to a fully qualified activity recreational centre)
- Operate from a premises that is commercially rateable by a local authority (but see FAQ 10 re certain B&B establishments); Yes
- Have 0 - 250 employees; Yes
- Have a turnover of less than €100k per employee to a maximum of €25m[1]; Yes (verifiable from certified accounts)
- Have suffered a 25%+ loss in turnover between 1 April and 30 June 2020. Yes (verifiable on certified accounts)
- Commit to remain open or to reopen if closed; and Yes
- Intend to retain employees that are on The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). No employees are on TWSS

I have exhausted every option with both Council and department at this stage to figure out and clarify the decision making process and criteria used with little or no response from either (my understanding is they are hung up on on how 'trading' is interpreted here i.e. the Company has been trading but not necessarily the premises even though I have a small turnover for 2019. Is there any expert on here that can assist with a path forward or anyone had similar issues and overcome them ?...Thks..