Clubs and local sporting organisations could be in line for a major cash boost thanks to a piece of government legislation first introduced over 40 years ago.
Section 2 of the Local Government Act provides local authorities with the ability to determine a select number of firms and organisations that can be excluded from commercial rates.
Cllr Michael Connellan, who raised the possibility at last week’s monthly meeting of Longford Town Council said the proposed introduction of such a waiver had been long overdue.
“This piece of leglislation allows the Town and County Council by way of reserved function to identify a particular group of ratepayers which will allow them to be partly, partially or fully exempt from the payment of rates,” he said.
Aware that his request could only extend to those organisations within his own electoral area, Cllr Connellan said both local authorities had a role to play.
“I am looking for the Town and the County Council to accept that (Longford) Slashers, the Golf Club, the Rugby Club and Longford Town FC are to be recognised as falling under this particular scheme and to be allowed to be exempt from rates.
“Any money that is made by these organisations is put back into the clubs. They take young people off the streets, they provide a type of social education and to my mind it is a very important part of society and I think it is absolutely imperative that this is done as soon as possible,” he added.
Issuing a word of caution, Town Clerk Dan Rooney said any such move would require the authorisation of Environment Minister Phil Hogan. He also pointed to an earlier approach, made at county council level in recent years which ultimately proved unsuccessful.
“The legislation that requires the making or amending of the scheme under Section 2 of the act actually requires consent of the Minister for Local Government.
“There was a previous application made by the county council four or five years ago and there was no response to that,” he said.