Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly says the Government’s Valuation Bill, which was debated in the Seanad this week, will see voluntary sports clubs in Kerry forced to pay commercial rates while trying to generate an income.
Senator 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. It will place a massive financial burden on many hard pressed clubs across this region, which are already struggling to remain viable.
“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 right across Kerry, goes too far.
“I am also concerned 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.
“Despite promises to reform rates, the amendments to this Act put forward by the Government are regressive and will only serve to harm small businesses and threaten the future of sports clubs across Kerry.”