The Government’s Valuation Bill, which was debated in the Seanad this week, will see voluntary sports clubs forced to pay commercial rates, while trying to generate an income, a Fianna Fáil senator has claimed.
Senator Mark Daly commented, “The Valuation Act, which was brought forward in the Dáil by my colleague, Deputy Barry Cowen, was designed to reduce unfair rates by limiting the charges to premises serviced by a bar. However, an amendment introduced by Minister of State Simon Harris will see sports clubs charged rates on income generated from areas other bars. This could see organisations forced to pay commercial rates for renting out sports halls, meeting rooms or other facilities.
“I am urging the Government to reconsider its amendment, which goes much further than the original legislation was intended. While I believe that rates should be paid on the bar areas in these clubs, the imposition of rates on other facilities, which are essential revenue raising tools for clubs.”
He also expressed concern that the Government is attempting to row back on its commitment to introduce a self-assessment model for rateable valuations.
“Considerable changes have been made to the self-assessment proposals, which dramatically alter the intended objectives, which would have allowed businesses to set realistic valuations on properties for rates,” he said.