Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Dublin City Council Strategic Policy Committee on Culture, Sport and Community, has urged sports clubs in Dublin of all disciplines to support proposed Fianna Fail legislation to drive down commercial rates on the clubs.
Cllr Fitzpatrick told a meeting she had organised last night (Wednesday) of Dublin sports clubs to outline the proposed changes in the rates valuation process that with support from across all political parties clubs could see funding freed up to invest in maintaining and expanding facilities during a time when many are going through financial strain.
Cllr Fitzpatrick described sports clubs as the cornerstone of every community and village and said the sports and recreations they promoted, and the friendships that evolved through the generations as a result, was often the cement that held communities together, particularly in times of economic uncertainty.
She said under the proposed legislation sports clubs across the country which have a licensed bar on site would see their commercial rates reduced and extra money freed up to invest in facilities. It would mean clubs will only be liable to be charged rates on the part of their property which is licensed to sell alcohol.
“I fully understand the burden that commercial rates can be for many clubs”
Cllr Fitzpatrick said. “While it is reasonable to ask clubs to pay rates for revenue generating bar facilities I think it is only fair that dressing rooms and sports halls should be exempt. If the government was to adopt the Fianna Fail legislation and redefine how the rates are applied, clubs could get some much needed relief from heavy rates bills and as a result have more funds to invest in facilities”.
Cllr Fitzpatrick outlined the need for changes in the law which covers the valuation of property because at the moment sports clubs are being charged commercial rates on dressing rooms and sports halls as well as their bar.
“Commercial rates can be a huge burden for many clubs and I think now is the time to redefine how those rates are applied” Cllr Fitzpatrick said. “Under the proposed legislation clubs will only be liable to be charged rates on the part of their property which is licensed to sell alcohol. This will free up extra money for cash strapped clubs to invest in enhancing their facilities. There has been a major reduction in sporting grants in recent years and I think implementing this change in the law would be a shot in the arm a lot of clubs need”.
At the meeting Cllr Fitzpatrick was joined by Barry Cowen TD, the Fianna Fail spokesperson on Environment and Local Government, who is bringing forward the ‘Valuation Bill 2014’ in the Oireachtas.