ENNIS councillors have backed a motion calling on Clare County Council to introduce a rent waiver scheme that would give traders who set up business, in premises that are vacant for more than two years, a 75% rate cut in year one, a 50% rate cut in year two and a 25% rate cut in year three.
Councillor Tom McNamara called for a three-year commitment by the council on rates and for the council to put pressure on landlords to “do something to get the town back in action”.
He said such schemes had been successful elsewhere and asked his fellow local councillors to push it strongly at council level.
Councillor Pat Daly supported the proposal and said it would be better to see some money being collected and would help to sustain new developing retail units. Councillor Mary Howard said she agreed with the spirit of the motion and called on landlords to look at their rents for new businesses.
The council’s response to the proposal said a waiver scheme would have to take into account the impact on established businesses and the possible relocation of business from other areas, rent levels and other financial implications.
The matter can be further considered, wrote financial accountant, Noeleen Fitzgerald, but any waiver of commercial rates requires council approval and also ministerial approval.