Deputy Willie Penrose.
Labour TD for Longford-Westmeath, Willie Penrose, has described as 'exorbitant' recent property valuation certs issued in his constituency as part of the revaluation process for commercial rates.
Deputy Penrose, who raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week, has called on the Government to honour its commitment to Rural Ireland and address the issue.
“The Government made a clear commitment in the Programme for Government to advance economic development in Rural Ireland and ensure that no town or village is left behind.
“And yet these proposed valuation certs are completely theoretical, desk-bound assessments which will wipe out and damage businesses and shops in rural villages and towns.
“In my constituency of Longford- Westmeath, demands have been issued which will see a fivefold increase in rates. In my own village of Ballynacaragy, three business owners have told me they will go to the wall in 2018 as a result. In one business for example, rates went from €400 to €2,300.
“What can be done to address this madness where one arm of the Government is acting contrary to the objectives of the other arm?
“While I welcome the initiative being overseen by Minister Humphreys to put in place a grant system to enable dwellings and accommodation in villages and small towns to be refurbished and made available for habitation, what is the Taoiseach going to do offer relief in respect of the huge burden of rates?
“The Government needs to follow through on its commitment in the Programme for Government and ensure businesses in Rural Ireland are protected.”