Ahead of the planned meeting this Thursday (March 19) between Ennis Chamber and senior officials at Clare County Council, to discuss payment of rates, three councillors ask Clare County Council to investigate the approval of a pro rata rates reduction for businesses that have had to close in order to comply with national policies, in light of COVID 19 pandemic.
A joint cross party motion proposed by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF), Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) and Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) will seek to have the local authority make some concessions to assist businesses in this extremely difficult time and to understand the implications for the local authority.
Former Publican and Restauranteur
Cllr. Murphy said, “As someone who has spent over 25 years in the pub and restaurant sectors I understand better than most the effect of this closure order, and although I totally agree with the policy, it is going to hit the small customer facing businesses, and their staff, very hard. Once again, they are bearing the brunt of a situation completely outside of their control.
While many people can continue to earn their living, albeit in slightly more awkward circumstances, for many in the service sector the question today is; what will put food on the table and pay the mortgage?
There are many things that are completely outside the sphere of influence of Clare County Council, this however, is something that we are in control of, so I think it is only appropriate that the local authority steps up, in whatever way we can, to help out as much as we can. This debate is needed so we all clearly understand what the cost to CCC will be and the implications it will have on the program of works for the future.”
Cllr. Ian Lynch added, “These unprecedented times present uncertainty for us all with many unknowns still yet to play out. The recent measures across the globe will impact local, national and global economies. Our traditional way of going to work requires us to be more dynamic to react to situations as the arise. We accept that this motion will have a knock on effect on the council budget but small businesses are the lifeblood of council revenue and must be protected to ensure our recovery and the future”
Cllr Johnny Flynn, Mayor of Ennis, had similar concerns, “I have been on the streets over the last few days and have seen the independent small businesses that have had to close. Clare County Council should, as a sign of social and business solidarity look seriously at providing a pro rata rates reduction Scheme for small and medium businesses forced to close during this national emergency.
Like Cillian Murphy, my wife and I have been in pharmacy business for 28 years and as ratepayers support the services that Clare County Council provide. It is imperative that this support and others from Government are in place to ensure as many as possible of these businesses can re-open to provide local employment”.