Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal North East Charlie McConalogue says changes must be made to the current rates system to alleviate the burden on small and medium businesses in Donegal. Last week Fianna Fáil brought forward a Bill aimed at streamlining rates across the country.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “Towns across Donegal have borne the brunt of the recession but are failing to see many signs of recovery. Boarded up shopfronts are a common feature of villages and towns in the country, yet the Government has failed to take concrete measures to reduce the pressure on smaller businesses, many of which are family run ventures.
“Current legislation makes it very difficult for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses. We need a new system that creates breathing space for retailers who may be experiencing financial problems, as well as helping to incentivise new businesses to set up in our towns so that the economy can grow again.
“Last week I spoke in the Dáil during the introduction of a Fianna Fáil Bill, which aims to create a fairer, more cohesive billing structure. The current system is no longer fit for purpose and must be adapted. The Local Government (Rates and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 will introduce a single mechanism for annual rates valuation, a refund scheme for vacant properties and a new review system. It also deals with the question of landlords’ liability for rates, which have not been paid by tenants.
“I have been contacted by business owners across Donegal who are frustrated by the current system placing costs on them that bear no relationship to the financial realities of their business. These exorbitant costs are a deterrent to new business and are smothering existing ones. Business ventures need to be encouraged and supported, but the archaic rates regime is damaging businesses and destroying jobs.
“It is long past time to radically overhaul the rates system here. This Bill provides simple and sensible solutions to the current problems and I am urging the Government to give it due consideration”.