Fianna Fáil TD Local Election candidate for Castleisland Fionnán Fitzgerald says action must be taken to ease the pressure on businesses from rising commercial rates. Despite the publication of the Local Government (Rates) Bill 2018, Fine Gael has allowed the legislation to languish in the Dáil.

“Rising rates are a serious issue for small businesses in Castleisland and in many towns in Kerry. Many family run businesses say they are in danger of reducing staff numbers because they simply cannot cope with the huge overheads in insurance and rates increases as a result of the ongoing revaluation process”, said Fitzgerald.

“Businesses are already finding it difficult to stay on top of their costs, and rising commercial rates could push them over the edge. Instead of increasing revenue for the State, these costs could force smaller shops, restaurants and pubs out of business. That is the opposite of what we need.

“Rather than hitting shops and businesses with additional costs we should be encouraging more businesses into towns.

“Fianna Fáil has put forward a number of measures to help alleviate the burden of rates on businesses. These include a rate relief scheme, which would allow Local Authorities to reduce or eliminate rates on new businesses in town centres and rural areas for up to two years. Businesses that convert upper floors into accommodation would also be eligible for rate relief.

“Businesses in Castleisland and across Kerry need better supports to ensure that they remain vibrant so that these towns can thrive”, concluded Fitzgerald.