Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath Robert Troy has accused the Government of abandoning struggling businesses by failing to tackle commercial rates. Minister Eoghan Murphy and his predecessors have been promising reform of the commercial rates system but the legislation to deal with it has still not been published.
Deputy Troy explained, “There are hundreds of businesses here in Longford and Westmeath, and right across the country, which have seen their rates dramatically increase over the past number of years. In some cases the increases have been over 400%. This has put massive pressure on these businesses, many of which are family run enterprises, and could even threaten their futures.
“This Government has been promising to address this issue for years but no concrete action has been taken. Fianna Fáil published the Valuation (Amendment Bill) 2017 earlier this year in an attempt to address the very serious problems being faced by small and medium sized businesses.
“Minister Murphy and his Government colleagues are great at paying lip-service to the business community but they are stalling on this important issue. He has confirmed to me that the Government approved a drafting of a Rates Bill in April this year, but there has been very little movement on it since then. It’s clear that despite positive soundings, this Government does not see this important issue as a priority.
“I am extremely disappointed that the Government has failed to grasp the urgency of this issue – businesses are genuinely struggling to pay the massive rates increases that they’ve been hit with over the past few years. These are local businesses employing local people – the backbone of our economy.
“I will be continuing to keep pressure on Minister Murphy to ensure that this Rates Bill is progressed without any further delay”.