A divide has emerged between Ennis councillors and councillors from the other three municipal districts over a decision made last week to freeze Ennis commercial rates for the next three years.
Clare County Council has been given 10 year to strike a uniform commercial rate for the entire county following the amalgamation of the local authorities earlier thie year.
At present businesses in Ennis pay a rate of €65.45 compared to €72.99 in the rest of Clare. This puts non-Ennis based businesses at a significant disadvantage, especially considering the rate in Limerick and Galway has been reduced to €59.90 and €66.75 respectively in recent years.
“We have seen significant reductions made by our neighbours in other county. We are pricing ourselves out of the market. Limerick has cut their rate dramatically and every week they are announcing some new initiative,” said Shannon Cllr Gerry Flynn.
“If the Ennis councillors get their way then Clare will continue to be a divide county. Cllr [Tom] McNamara says he supports freezing the rates in Ennis and the businesses in other parts of the county can go and suffer.
“It’s time that Ennis councillors realise that they are county councillors – Ennis town council is gone. It’s time that we had equal rights for the businesses of Clare.”
Cllr Tom McNamara (FF) was one of a number of councillors who defended the decision to freeze the Ennis rate.
“In fairness the Ennis councillors are just looking after the people they represent,” he said.
Ennis councillor Pat Flynn (FF) said he supports the equalization of rates across Clare, but just not yet.
“I supported the freezing of rate in Ennis for one reason and one reason only – there are business struggling in Ennis,” he said.
“I know people in Ennis who just can’t pay their rates. I think equalization will come in but presently, the way things are, we are right to do what we can do for the businesses in Ennis.”
According to Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF), between 2008 and 2013 Clare ranked the second highest in Ireland for increases to local rates and water charges.
“We have a serious problem here. We are not competing in Limerick and that is a fact,” she said.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Clare County councillors should be fighting for their own constituents by voting to reduce the county rate to the same rate as Ennis and this would give rate parity without resulting on putting more pressure on any business at a critical time in our economy is about to turn. Brian O’Neill Rowan Tree Hostel and Rowan Tree Cafe Bar

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