Tánaiste Commences Companies Act 2020

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  • Businesses can now hold AGMs, general meetings and creditors’ meetings remotely
  • Examinership increased from 100 to 150 days
  • Threshold at which a company is deemed unable to pay its debts increased to €50,000

Friday 21 August, 2020

The Tánaiste and Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar has signed the order commencing the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Covid-19) Act 2020.

The Tánaiste said:

“This order will make some changes which will make it easier for companies to operate during the pandemic. From today, companies can hold their AGMs remotely, ensuring they can comply with their statutory obligations while observing the Government’s public health advice.

“The Act also makes temporary amendments to insolvency provisions by increasing the period of examinership to 150 days and increasing the threshold at which a company is deemed unable to pay its debts to €50,000. These important amendments will provide additional breathing space to struggling businesses and complement the package provided in the July stimulus.”


The Act makes temporary amendments to the Companies Act 2014 and the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893 – 2018 to address issues arising as a result of Covid-19.

Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Companies Regulation, Robert Troy TD, said:

“This Act is an important first phase of work in the area of company law to provide common sense, practical solutions to the issues faced by over 200,000 businesses in Ireland. It is a welcome development that companies and cooperatives can now hold general meetings remotely allowing them to comply with their statutory obligations and adhere to public health guidance. Importantly, the Act also provides support to businesses struggling financially by increasing examinership to 150 days and increasing the threshold at which a company is deemed unable to pay its debts to €50k. I believe these amendments will facilitate the survival and recovery of viable businesses in towns and cities across Ireland.

Notes for Editor

Features of the Act

The main provisions of the Act can be summarised as follows, to:

  • Allow companies to postpone AGMs until 31 December 2020;
  • Provide that both general and creditors’ meetings may be held virtually;
  • Allow documents which are required to be executed under seal to be executed in counterpart;
  • Increase the amount at which a statutory demand can be issued from €10/20k to €50k;
  • Extend the examinership process from 100 to 150 days (subject to court approval).
  • Provide the Minister with regulation making power in respect of extending the interim period and amending the operational detail of hybrid and virtual general meetings.
  • Provide that the measures will be operative for an interim period (up until 31 December 2020, with potential for extension of this period);

The main provisions in relation to co-operatives include, to:

  • Provide that the measures will be operative for an interim period (up until 31 December 2020, with potential for extension of this period);
  • Provide for a deferral of the annual general meeting until 31 December 2020;
  • Provide that a general meeting may be held as a hybrid general meeting (a meeting where some of the members attend at the venue or venues specified in the notice of the meeting while others may participate by electronic means) or a fully virtual general meeting;
  • Provide the Minister with regulation making power in respect of extending the interim period and amending the operational detail of hybrid and virtual general meetings.

As a result of previous amendments to the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts in 1978 and 2014, the company law proposals on examinership and creditors meetings automatically apply to co-operatives.

END