Cllr Kevin O'Keeffe. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Fianna Fail TD for Cork East Kevin O’Keeffe has called on the Government to deliver on its promise of a new commercial rates bill.
His comments come as businesses across the country are undergoing a re-evaluation process designed to create a balance between businesses in town centres and out of town retail units.
Some premises have reported a rate increase of up to 400% following their review, with many struggling to make payment.
It’s feared a large number of East Cork businesses could be hit with similar commercial bills.
Figures seen by the East Cork Journal show that over 650 businesses in Cork County have yet to pay rates; a number haven’t paid a rate since 2011.
6 businesses have been awaiting assessment since 2011, 18 since 2012, 151 since 2013, 67 since 2014, 226 since 2015 and a further 141 last year.
Many are start-up companies or existing businesses who have extended their premises.
The local authority are unable to collect rates until the government run valuation office determine the rate.
Once the business has been rated, charges cannot be claimed retrospectively, meaning the county’s coffers are potentially losing out on hundreds of thousands of euro annually.
The Government has been promising a new rates bill for a number of months but it has yet to be published.
Deputy O’Keeffe said Fianna Fail has made it a priority to deliver a fair deal to the country’s rate payers.
He said his party’s legislation is designed to “reduce the impact of rates valuations on businesses by putting a cap on the rate increases themselves, and allowing businesses to spread their increased payments over a five year period, rather than frontloading it. This will help give businesses a chance to adjust to their new valuation levels. Local Authorities will not lose out as they don’t benefit from valuation increases.”
Deputy O’Keeffe said the current rates being realised following a review are “unsustainable” for a small business.
He said “rather than hitting shops and businesses with additional costs we should be encouraging more businesses into towns. I will ensure that the forthcoming Bill does just that by using the Fianna Fáil Bill to put pressure on the Government. Now it’s time for the Minister to come up with the goods”