CLARE’S Government representatives are being urged to cough up towards the coffers of Ennis town to compensate for not paying commercial rates on their constituency offices.
The politicians’ offices are exempt from commercial rates under national valuation regulations and at this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, Councillor Brian Meaney called on those with constituency offices in Ennis to pay a voluntary contribution to the council and “show solidarity with the hard-pressed business community”.
According to Councillor Meaney, “This could be an opportunity to show leadership and a bit of an example. They do already get well compensated in expenses and with the services that local government are required to deliver, we do need to ensure maximum payment of rates.”
He added, “The Government is looking for everyone else to tighten their belts and I think, in the national interest, our representatives should do a bit extra. I propose that we write to constituency offices suggesting a voluntary contribution.”
He was supported by Councillor Tommy Brennan, who said, “They avail of all of the services of the town and as a gesture of goodwill towards Ennis Town Council and the people who provide services, they should make a contribution.”
Councillor Frankie Neylon suggested a €5,000 sum would be appropriate, although he acknowledged the council could not set an amount on a voluntary contribution. Councillor Peter Considine commented that the proposal should be circulated to other local authorities.
Councillor Paul O’Shea also expressed his support for the call, saying, “We should remind our TDs that this is a time when children’s allowance is being cut; respite care is being cut; these draconian cuts are having an effect on people’s lives and if we don’t have any joy in getting a contribution, we should look for them to make a donation to charity.”
Town manager Ger Dollard confirmed to councillors that the constituency offices are entitled to an exemption from commercial rates. He also pointed out they are not exempt from water charges. It was agreed to write to the Government representatives asking for a contribution and to the minister advising him of the council’s decision.