Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has welcomed the suspension of commercial rates payments for two months but has said it does not go far enough to help struggling businesses.

Deputy Murnane O’Connor, who wrote to Minister for Business and Enterprise, Heather Humphries and to Carlow County Council requesting a moratorium on commercial rates, said a longer-term suspension must be considered.

She said, “I am already inundated with requests for assistance from small businesses who are struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.

She said, “No business could have foreseen the crisis which would be on their doors in the first quarter of 2020. It is totally unreasonable to expect these businesses to continue paying rates when their doors are closed.

“Thankfully so many businesses in Carlow have taken the initiative, for the safety of their staff and their customers, to close their doors in line with Government guidelines. They have nothing coming in but still need to pay their rent and any other bills – they simply can’t afford to pay commercial rates on top of all that.

“A two month suspension will offer some breathing space for businesses but realistically we have no idea when this crisis will end,” she concluded.