Dublin City Council hints at rates reprieve for some businesses

Struggling companies will be dealt with ‘sympathetically’ , says head of finance

A quiet Grafton Street  in Dublins city centre at the weekend.Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A quiet Grafton Street in Dublins city centre at the weekend.Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Dublin businesses who cannot meet their rates bills amid the coronavirus crisis will be dealt with “sympathetically”, Dublin City Council has said.

The council said it was “very aware” there were many small and medium sized businesses in the city that were struggling and in need of support as footfall plummets in the city.“With that in mind we are encouraging ratepayers who find themselves in that category to contact us.”

Council chief executive Owen Keegan last week warned against a blanket “moratorium” on rates a. “I would strongly caution against this approach if we are to maintain city council services,” he said.

However, he added any ratepayer “experiencing difficulties in meeting their rates liabilities should contact their rate collector to discuss the matter and agree an appropriate arrangement”.

The council has now reiterated this position and said ratepayers who can continue to pay their outstanding rates should continue to do so.

“Those that are in a position to discharge their rate payments early are also encouraged to do so in order to support the provision of City Council services including essential services which are part of the response to the Covid-19 emergency. These are difficult times for everyone and we all have to play our part.”

Those who may be unable to pay, should contact their council rates collector as soon as possible, the council’s head of Finance Kathy Quinn said.

“Each ratepayer will be treated sympathetically and consistently in agreeing to defer rate payments and restructure payment plans where required. Ratepayers should contact their rate collector to discuss the matter and agree an appropriate arrangement in these unprecedented circumstances,” she said.

“Please be assured that Dublin City Council’s Rates Office will work with you and all ratepayers who have been financially impacted through this very difficult situation on a case by case basis.”