The state-owned Shannon Commercial Properties has been accused of ‘extortionism’ for its decision to seek an 80% rise in service charges from companies in the Shannon Free Zone.
The claim has come from Senator Martin Conway, who told the Seanad that firms have been informed that the charge is to be hiked from 21 cent per square foot to 38 cent.
In 2006, the charge stood at just three cents, and this rise could represent a significant increase in bills faced by some of the large employers there.
In a statement, Shannon Commercial Properties says there has been a historical considerable underinvestment in property and infrastructure,and they insist that the new charge is around half of the average service charge for commercial business parks here.
Senator Conway doesn’t believe this hike can be justified.
Statement from Shannon Commercial Properties Statement on Service Charges
Prior to the establishment of Shannon Group in 2014, there had been considerable under-investment in property and infrastructure at Shannon Free Zone. The Group’s property company Shannon Commercial Properties immediately set about addressing this legacy issue and to-date we have invested over €40 million in delivering 60,000 sq ft of property solutions for new and existing client.
In tandem with this, we have committed to delivering a €1 million annual infrastructure investment programme at Shannon Free Zone to upgrade roads, footpaths, public lighting and landscaping. As a commercial semi-state company, service charges enable us to make these continuous improvements for the benefit of existing owners and tenants in the estate and to attract new businesses to Shannon Free Zone for the benefit of the region.
Shannon Commercial Properties operate one of the lowest service charge rates of other commercial business parks in Ireland. The 38 cent per sq ft charge we propose is approximately 50% of the average service charge for commercial business parks across Ireland.
We are committed to our annual infrastructure investment programme for the foreseeable future, the aim of which is to develop an attractive 21st century business park which our business customers and their staff can be proud of.