An Ennis councillor has labelled Clare County Council’s 2022 budget as ‘discriminatory’ against the retail and hospitality sectors.
It’s after representatives voted to approve a 3.8 percent commercial rates hike in this county next year.
CEO Pat Dowling told the meeting of elected representatives on Friday that the 2022 economic outlook for the local authority is ‘uncertain’ and that the year will bring post-Covid challenges to ‘a stark reality’.
One of the major ways the Council is set to plug this gap is through a rate increase for businesses – something that hasn’t happened here since 2009.
37 million euro in rates were generated in 2021 by 3,428 separate entities – though more than half of this money was contributed by just 149 businesses, including in energy generation, hospitality and Shannon Airport.
Kilkee-based Fianna Fail Councillor Cillian Murphy voted in favour of the move – and says an increase in Council income needs to be generated from somewhere.
An Ennis Councillor though says he can’t stand over what he describes as a ‘discriminatory’ budget.
Clare County Council expenditure is projected to increase to €138.6 million next year, which is more than 7 million euro up on 2021 levels.
All seven elected Ennis municipal district representatives voted against adopting the 2022 draft budget as outlined by the local authority.
Fine Gael Councillor Johnny Flynn says the hospitality sector in particular is ‘on its knees’ already.
Ennis Chamber’s President believes an increase in Clare’s commercial rates will put businesses in this county in a ‘precarious’ position.
Darragh McAllister, who is also a local publican, says it’s another challenge for retailers after a tough two years.