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Local authorities agree deferral of rates payments for businesses impacted by coronavirus outbreak

Each authority will manage repayment schedules with businesses into the future.

Duke Street in Dublin which has been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Duke Street in Dublin which has been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

AN AGREEMENT HAS been made between the Government and local authorities to allow businesses which have been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak to defer their local authority rates payments for three months. 

This morning, Dublin City Council’s Chief Executive Owen Keegan described how the rates were essential for local authorities to continue functioning as normal, and those who can continue to pay their rates should do so. 

In a statement this afternoon, however, the Government confirmed that those businesses impacted by coronavirus – mainly in retail, hospitality, childcare and leisure sectors – can defer their rates payments until the end of May. 

The measure will be kept under review and could be extended if necessary, while the Government also acknowledged the impact this might have on the cash-flow of local councils. 

A statement also said: “While the identified types of businesses may be most impacted initially, local authorities are also conscious that there may be impacts on other categories of ratepayers as the impact of Covid-19 and responses evolve and are monitoring the situation closely.”

It is expected that businesses will come to payment schedule arrangement with local authorities once the Covid-19 crisis is over. 

Housing and Local Government Minister, Eoghan Murphy said: Local authorities will work with ratepayers that engage with them on flexible payment options and enterprise support, relevant to their circumstances. To those businesses that are facing financial problems: please engage with your local authority.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Keegan said that businesses that are functioning “if not quite at normal, near normal, and we see no reason why those business shouldn’t pay their commercial rates”.

“That rate income is essential to the City Council if we’re to continue to provide services including some essential services. 

“So all we’re asking is that those sectors that are largely unaffected will continue to pay, and those experiencing significant difficulties – and we accept there are businesses that have experienced very significant difficulties – we will deal with them on a case-by-case basis.”

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