News & Events

Tánaiste welcomes appointment of new Microfinance Ireland CEO

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D. has today welcomed the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer of Microfinance Ireland (MFI), Mr Des McCarthy. Mr McCarthy comes to the role with considerable experience in the banking sector and the not-for-profit sector. His expertise in organisational transformation will be particularly important with increased demand for MFI standard, Covid and Brexit business loans and a much-increased loan book after the high demand of 2020 which saw over €27 million in lending.  

Speaking about the announcement the Tánaiste said:

“Congratulations to Mr Des McCarthy, on his appointment as the new CEO of MFI. The months ahead will continue to be challenging for many Irish businesses, and MFI will have an important role to play in helping those struggling with access to funding as the economy reopens. I have no doubt Des will bring real leadership to the role and my Department will continue to support MFI in its work. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Garrett Stokes, the outgoing CEO for his tremendous work over the last five years, developing MFI into an important and recognised funder for micro businesses in every region of Ireland”.

MFI provide loans for startups and micro businesses (employing 0-9 employees and with a turnover of less than €2 million) with affordable loans through their standard loan, Covid-19 business loan and their Brexit business loan. It has a particular focus on lending to those businesses which were refused lending by commercial banks. 2020 was MFI’s most successful year ever approving €27.4m in loans to 1,229 small businesses supporting an additional 2,972 jobs. Having adopted a higher credit risk because of the pandemic, the average loan approval rate increased for the year to 56%. Since commencing trading in 2012, MFI has now approved €63.8m in loans, supporting 3,789 businesses and through them supporting 9,223 jobs.

MFI Chairperson Cyril Forbes said:

“After the strong leadership of Garrett Stokes through very turbulent times over the last five years, not least the huge increase in demand in 2020 as a response to Covid, the appointment of Des McCarthy will see another positive leader at a time of change. I am sure Des will continue to promote the strong ethos of support and understanding to our small Irish businesses, many of whom have felt the full impact of the Covid restrictions.”

The Microfinance Ireland Covid-19 Loan scheme assists businesses which have been impacted negatively by Covid-19.  It provides much-needed funding to help microenterprises meet payments for stock, working capital requirements and other overhead expenses through the provision of low-cost lending facilities, which include a six-month repayment free moratorium and the equivalent of one-year interest free (subject to terms and conditions) with rates as low as 4.5% for the remaining period of the loan.

Companies interested in applying or finding out more information can contact Microfinance Ireland


The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Enterprise, Trade and Employment, or (01) 631-2200