The Dáil will debate a new Bill today which would cut commercial rates for local sports organisations which have a bar on their premises.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen has called on the Government to support and implement his new Valuations Bill which proposes that only the licensed part of a sporting club’s facilities would be used to calculate Commercial Rates.
Deputy Cowen said: “At the moment, sporting organisations with licensed premises, such as GAA clubs, must pay commercial rates on all of their premises despite the fact that the vast majority of their space is used for sporting and voluntary purposes. This unfairly penalises clubs that have bars and with many sporting organisations hit by cuts to funding by Government they are finding it hard to stay open.
“What I am proposing is that only the licensed premises inside a club’s facilities would be liable for commercial rates, this would address the unfair gap in the law that targets clubs with bars. I believe this can be done while insulating local pubs from any impact on their trade. This should not be about poaching business away from pubs but freeing up local sports clubs. There is a separate serious issue facing the pub trade from cheap alcohol sales from large multiples shops and the Government needs to tackle that as well.
“This new law would be of considerable benefit to many sports organisations around the country. If the burden of paying exorbitant rates was lifted from these sporting organisations then valuable money could be invested in equipment, updating facilities or be put towards the debts that many face.
“I am calling on the Government TDs to see the common sense in this legislation and support this Bill. Sporting organisations provide an invaluable service to local communities and are a vital outlet for people of all ages. We need to do everything in our power to support these amenities and implementing this measure will send a clear message that these clubs are valued and respected for their work in the community.”