Sandyford businesses urge council to abandon rate hike proposal

Group says increase in commercial rates will place too much financial strain on businesses

Sandyford Business District has called on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council (DLRCC) to abandon its proposal to increase commercial rates for businesses from next year.

The council is expected to vote to increase rates by 4 per cent to fund its annual budget for 2020 and reduce its deficit, estimated to be in region of €10 million, at a general meeting on Thursday.

However, the umbrella group for Sandyford businesses said the move would place considerable financial strain on businesses in the area.

"The decision to increase rates could not come at a worse time when you consider the potential impact of Brexit and the gradual slowdown in the economy, which will combine to adversely impact business in general," chief executive of Sandyford Business District, Conor Battigan, said.


“ With a no-deal still a possibility, businesses are operating in an increasingly uncertain environment and any measures that would exacerbate this would put considerable strain on businesses and their operations,” he said.

Sandyford has benefitted, more than most areas, from the influx of foreign direct investment and remains one of the most economically buoyant areas of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.

Some of State's most well-known companies such as SSE Airtricity, Microsoft, Beacon Hospital, Facebook, Icon, Mastercard and Sage Ireland have offices there.

Google also recently announced plans to increase its already-massive footprint in the capital with an agreement to lease more than 7,000sq m (75,000sq ft) of office space at Central Park in Sandyford.

“Sandyford Business District represent all businesses from micro-enterprises to larger companies and irrespective of size the challenges remain the same. Brexit and the uncertainty surrounding the economy are dual threats to Ireland - something that was reflected in the recent Budgetary measures announced by Government,” Mr Battigan said.

“ This same approach needs to be adopted at local level because Ireland must ensure a positive eco-system for businesses to grow and thrive in order to maintain our competitiveness,” he said.

The group wants the rate increase should be put on hold until Brexit is determined in order to aid rate-payers investment in the economy and business planning.

“Ultimately, the business community cannot constantly shoulder the burden of financing local government,” Mr Battigan said, noting Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s commercial rates, as a percentage share of local authority income, is one of the highest in the country at 50 per cent.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times