THERE was a large turn-out of traders last night (Monday) for a public meeting in the Imperial Hotel aimed at campaigning for a reduction in rates.
The meeting, which was chaired by Cllr Oliver Morgan, also saw representations being made by county councillor Frank Godfrey and Niall Kelleghan of Employers for Affordable Rates.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Cllr Morgan said that it was the meeting’s intention to lobby Louth Local Authorities and central government for a fairer system to help local businesses and to maintain employment.
Cllr Morgan personally invited all local councillors, TDs and senators to the meeting and said it would be to have a “fair discussion” and to “listen to transfers’ concerns in Dundalk.”
He said: “Traders’ main concern is losing staff due to the high rates and some of them feel that the council are bullying them into pay higher rates.
“I believe they need to see that the council is with them and on their side. Other similar meetings have taken place around the country and this campaign will go to the heart of central government and we’ll be lobbying the relevant ministers for action.
“What we’re looking for is a reduction of 25pc.”
Cllr Morgan said he recognised that councils relied on rates to operate and praised the local authority for not raising rates in the last three years and dropping them in that time but he said businesses and the jobs market needed a push in the right direction.
“I know the council are trying to help but we need to look at a fairer system at addressing rates. An unfair rates charge can make businesses unviable and while the council relies on them I believe there are other areas where the council can look into.”