Review of Sunshine Tax for Cobh and East Cork

By Seamus Whelehan

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Changes on how Cork County Council charge premises for having tables and chairs on streets are to be decided later this month.

Under current planning laws authorities are responsible for collecting €125 per table and four chairs, as well as €630 per on street advertising structure and €100 for use of the public thoroughfare.

The authority’s special purposes committee on tourism reviewed the current arrangement following a request from Labour Councillor Cathal Rasmussen.

The Cobh based Councillor had called for a “common sense” approach when rates were being set.

He argued it was vital Municipalities were given the power to set their own evaluations.

The issue of pricing arose last July when a number of Cobh businesses received letters from their borough.

Cobh Municipality had been charging €50 per table and four chairs and €10 per advertising structure.

However analysis of the Municipality’s charges led to the increase. The review of the district’s pricing followed a motion calling for proper regulation of street furniture, following concerns for public health and safety.

Sharon Corcoran head of the authority’s Economic and Tourism directorate told the March sitting of Cork County Council the new regulations provide for a pro-rata charge.

“If the street furniture is only out for the months June, July and August then we can just look for three twelfths of what the charge is.”

She said the review is designed to encourage towns outside the city who depend on passing trade and tourism.

“There is an absolute recognition that street furniture is critical for small restaurants and critical for the tourist industry.”

Speaking to the East Cork Journal Councillor Rasmussen said he is currently reviewing the draft policy with the local Chamber of Commerce.

The Cobh based Councillor said it was vital that Council was seen to support businesses who pay the authority’s rates. He said if this was not reflected in the new regulations then he would not be supporting the policy.

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