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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Dublin City Council chief: All we're asking is for businesses that are largely unaffected to pay their rates

Owen Keegan said that “if there is a complete failure to pay rates, it’ll have very serious implications” for the city’s services.

Grafton Street in Dublin.
Grafton Street in Dublin.
Image: PA

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL’S Chief Executive Owen Keegan has said that some Dublin businesses can pay their commercial property rates, and should continue to during the Covid-19 coronavirus shutdown. 

Businesses had been asking that those rates be waived, rather than deferred, to help businesses stay afloat.

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation, had described proposals to defer rates payments as “wholly inadequate” and a futile exercise that will do little to get the 260,000 people in Irish tourism back to work.

“Securing jobs is our priority now and it is disappointing that the Government does not realise the reality of what is needed,” she said.

“Deferring payment fails to tackle the underlying problem. It needs to be waived… If this meaningless intervention is to the only initiative brought to the table, businesses throughout Ireland will suffer. Every day without a waiver leads to further job losses.” 

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 

Keegan acknowledged that the hotel sector is one industry that is badly affected, and urged businesses to get in touch about their rates in order that something can be arranged.

Keegan also said that Dublin City Council provides some emergency services, including water services, fire brigade and emergency ambulances. He said that a rates needed to be paid by those that could afford it in order to keep services like these running. 

“We believe a significant number of business can continue to pay and they should pay, so that we can deal with the numbers that genuinely can’t pay for.

“If there is a complete failure to pay rates it’ll have very serious implications for us in terms of our capacity to provide services.” 

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