A MEETING to rally support for a reduction in commercial rates in Ardee will be held this Thursday 28 July at Muldoons at 8pm.
The meeting has been organised by Louth county councillor Frank Godfrey and Niall Kelleghan of the campaign called Employers for Affordable Rates.
“We’ve already held a meeting in Dundalk,” Cllr Godfrey said. “It was well supported and we want to keep the campaign going as businesses in mid-Louth have been feeling the crippling affects of rates in the current climate.
Tallanstown businessman Gerard Lynch said it is unfair to expect business people to pay the same rates now as they were paying before the economic recession.
“I’m in business 32 years, and I’ve paid my rates all the time,” Mr Lynch said at the last meeting to rally support for the rates campaign.
“In the last three years I’ve gone from 12 employees down to four yet the council insists that I pay the same amount of rates.
“That to me is unfair.”
And Dunleer newsagent Joe Torris who is President of the Convience Stores and Newsagents Association in the county, has called on the Government to urgently review the rates system.
“We have far too many vacant retail units,” Mr Torris said.
County Manager Conn Murray has pointed out that Louth County Council is still one of the cheapest local authorities in the country when it comes to rates.
“We’re among the bottom four in the country,” he said, “and one of the most competitive counties.
“Anyone who has difficulties is more than welcome to approach the council.”
And Ms Bernie Woods, Financial Officer with Louth County Council has told Ardee Town Council that the council will always try to faciltate payment plans to ease the burden on ratepayers.
Ardee Town Council was also told that the number of rate collectors has been reduced due to a national directive.