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McGrath slams new “draconian” commercial rates

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“Local businesses to be hit with draconian commercial rates legislation,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Housing and Local Government Simon Coveney to suspend planned new legislation which will introduce harsh new penalties for businesses that fail to pay commercial rates to the relevant Local Authority. Deputy McGrath was speaking after reports in the Sunday Business Post confirmed that the Minister is set to proceed with the new legislation in the New Year despite fears that its impact will be catastrophic on local trade:

“These measures are straight out of the ‘How To Make Things Worse’ rule book.

It is incomprehensible why the Minister and the Department are proceeding with such punitive measures given what we know about the deep inequity within the current commercial rates regime.

Local businesses which, in some counties like Tipperary, are struggling to respond to the challenges imposed by Brexit will be bewildered by the line taken on this issue.

No one is suggesting that local traders should be given a free pass with respect to payment of valid rates, but this is so utterly counter-productive that it beggars belief.

Giving local authorities and the Sheriff’s office the powers to seize goods or denying businesses the right to apply for state grants, licences or contracts is completely excessive.

It makes no provision for those people who are genuinely making every effort to stay afloat and meet their obligations to the local authority.

The proposed legislation, as well as the granting of additional powers to Revenue without the ability to have recourse to the courts, borders on the absurd.

We need to implement imaginative and supportive measures that will help our local economies thrive; not to be introducing new ways to punish them for trying to operate within a rates system that is already grossly unfair,” concluded Deputy McGrath.