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Councillors support rates increase in Ennis and Kilrush

BUSINESSES in Ennis and Kilrush will be hit by a hike in the commercial rate for the third consecutive year, after a majority of Clare county councillors supported the council’s controversial policy of rates harmonisation. Despite opposition from Ennis councillors and Kilrush Councillor Ian Lynch, rates harmonisation was supported by 17 votes to eight. Councillors also voted to approve the 2018 Budget Estimates by 17 votes to eight, after a two and a half hour meeting. Councillor Pat Hayes proposed the adoption of the estimates and this was seconded by Councillor Joe Cooney. According to the council, the latest increase amounts to 2.66% in Ennis in the annual rateable value and 3.94% in Kilrush. Chief executive officer Pat Dowling outlined that the Local Government Reform Act 2014 set out a process whereby the differences in rates multipliers between the former towns and the former county area have to be eliminated over time. This process commenced in 2016. At the same …

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Accusation of ‘massaging’ housing lists

Clare County Council has been accused of “massaging” official figures on its social housing list, amid growing concern of a 28% hike in applicants seeking local authority accommodation. Strategic policy committee chairman, Councillor Gerry Flynn, claimed official figures did not fully reflect the real social housing waiting list, which is already at “crisis point” and of “epidemic” proportions. Councillor Flynn claimed the council is “massaging” the overall figures due to the lack of a proper validation process, as applicants were knocked off the list if they didn’t respond to a council letter, asking them if they had a house. He believes an applicant should be left on a list unless the council has “concrete proof” they have obtained permanent accommodation. His charge coincides with a challenge from Housing Minister Paudie Coffey for the council and other local authorities to “step up to the plate” in terms of social housing provision. According to the most recent figures provided by the council, …

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