Louth TD Breathnach slams the government's "pussyfooting approach"

Dundalk Democrat

Reporter:

Dundalk Democrat

Louth TD Breathnach slams the government's "pussyfooting approach"

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has again raised the issue of the delay in bringing new legislation on Commercial Rates before the Dáil.

“Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave a commitment to the Dáil and to the valuable commercial rate payers that the Heads of Bill on Commercial Rates would be brought before the Dáil before the end of May 2017”.

“I again raised the issue under Questions on Promised Legislation stating that this promise rang hollow in that we are now coming towards the end of June and we are none the wiser ” said Breathnach.

“This is despite the fact that Departmental Officials have been spinning the proposed contents of this Bill to Local Authority Members Organisations.

“This is disrespectful to our valued but suffering commercial rate payers who are still in a vacuum and hoping and waiting patiently for a proper and fair system to come into operation.”

Deputy Breathnach said that in reply to his question Taoiseach Leo Varadkar appears to have dampened down the prospects of an early introduction of the Commercial Rates Bill and the much needed reform of the archaic valuation system for Commercial Rates.

The Taoiseach informed the House that the Heads of the Bill were agreed in April 2017 by Cabinet and are now being assessed by the office of the Attorney General with the possibility of aligning responsibility for Valuation and Commercial Rates in one Department (rather than the current situation whereby valuation is dealt with by the Department of Justice and Commercial Rates Payments are dealt with by the Department of Housing Planning Community and Local Government).

Said Deputy Breathnach “While I see the need for joined up thinking and streamlining, the fact is that this issue of dual departments should have been dealt with a long time ago, and this, in my view, is an attempt at obfuscation and it is vital now to give some glimmer of hope to the crippled commercial rate payers.

“I have raised a Parliamentary Question to seek further clarification on this issue.”