East Cork Start-Ups Could Benefit from New Rates Incentive

By Seamus Whelehan

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Start-up companies in East Cork who establish their business in vacant properties, could benefit from a scheme which is currently being considered by Cork County Council. ‘
The Authority say they will consider a proposal to give a rebate on rates paid by new firms in their first year of operation, helping to bring much needed employment back into our towns and villages, while also giving vital support to fledgling businesses when it is most needed.
The Motion, tabled by Independent Cllr Danny Collins and backed by Cllrs Noel Collins and Michael Hegarty at Monday’s Sitting of Cork County Council, would see indigenous business receive a rebate in its first eight months of operation.
Councillor Danny Collins said that by implementing the scheme Council would be helping entrepreneurs in a cost neutral way, whilst also giving a life line to local communities to benefit all Municipal areas.
Sinn Féin Cllr Des O’Grady said, “while there is merit in Cllr Collins Motion, rates should be based on turn-over and profits, and should be a state-wide rates-based system rather than have local Authorities take these initiatives.”
Councillor Michael Hegarty said “if Council was prepared to assist start-up businesses, the property owner should also give a moratorium to the new business
The Fine Gael Cllr said the proposal should be taken into consideration along with the Authority’s Urban Capacity Study.
At present the Cork County Council Policy and Planning Unit is reviewing the level of vacant units in towns and villages across the County.
Fellow Councillor Noel O’Donovan said all municipalities had premises in their towns that “were primarily lying idle.”
Seamus McGrath, leader of Fianna Fáil in Cork County Council, said the scheme should be carefully considered by a special policy committee within Cork County Council, as he felt there were risks that the programme would give an unfair disadvantage to existing business.
Cllr Noel Collins stated that, in many ways, the programme tries to do what Cork County Council itself does. “It will help and grow new business, and clear up derelict and empty buildings which are now so prevalent in our many towns and villages.”
Independent Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla said “people who own properties in prime areas who allow their properties to remain empty and neglected, should be penalised”
Council CEO Tim Lucey said the proposal required serious discussion. He said there has been an increased vibrancy in all our towns and villages in the past 18 months, which have been performing better than in most other parts of the country.
The Chief Executive added that Council should focus it’s mind on how and where funding can flow from the Government’s €3billion Urban and Rural Regeneration Fund announced as part of the National Framework Project 2040.
The first €100million of the programme is to be released in 2019.
The Motion will be examined in full by a special Policy Committee of Cork County Council and will be debated by full Council at a later stage.

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