Rates going up. Local government doing their bit for us.


Joe talks to small businesses.
rates getting doubled or more. One mentioned rates put up by 240%

Between rates and on street parking and rezoning of suburban areas of towns for UK chain store developments it appears local government are doing their best to kill local businesses and communities.

Was driving around Tullamore before I left and almost all the main thoroughfares appear to have between 30 and 40% vacancy.

Joe Duffy has been covering the local business “rates” issue for a few weeks now. Some of the stories being aired are shocking. Very small businesses being charged tens of thousands in council “rates” plus thousands more for water, and then even more for refuse collection.

The council refuse to explain how they calculate what you owe, they just send you a bill and if you dont pay, they shut you down. They also pursue people whove gone out of business for amounts previously owed.

Its a disgusting extortion scam reminisent of the mafia protection rackets. I dont understand why small business cant get this situation rectified.

I know one of the people(not a relative, not a friend, just a very occasional acquaintance) in that recording and the business they are referring to doesn’t have a large sq. footage and turnover would be hugely down on 2007 levels.

It’s part of the problem with overall politics in Ireland. Local councils have no money as they relied on levies for new residential house building to fund themselves. The only way to fix it is for the government to properly fund local councils, which isn’t going to happen given current deficit, or for residential taxes to be introduced with funds going directly to councils. Currently all parties seem to be saying no to property taxes so this can only mean higher rates for local businesses and higher refuse charges for all.

I agree partly.
FF made a decision back between 97 and 02 that they were not going to fund local government. they told local government to pay their own way and let then enact whatever bye-laws they wanted to raise revenue.
Once the local authorities got the power to raise revenues locally they went on a spending spree building multi-million euro county buildings and hiring additional staff who don’t actually add value.
No. 27 recommendation in the mccarthy report was to rationalise the number of local authorities because there are only around 4 million people here. local authorities in the UK would look after populations larger than that within their own boundaries. We’ve got 34 of them.

At this stage local authorities need to be culled. Rates reduced, waste charges reduced, water charges reduced, on street paid parking abolished outside of all but the very busiest urban centres.
Our local councils are killing local business because they can’t reduce their operating expenditure and leech off local business. local business is run by locals and locals spend their profits in the local economy; UK chain stores repatriate profits.
Property taxes are not a solution while we have so many wasteful county councils in existence. I know that the town Councillors in Tullamore went on a junket to the arse end of nowhere in the US in the last month or so; totally unnessacary.
Also local councils are a pre-schoool for gombeen politicians.

Well, while I agree with the main thrust of the post this far, particularly regarding funding, I feel that, in general, people in Ireland have a totally weird take on local government.
Back in the 1920s, there was loads more local government - as well as county councils, we had rural districts, but the government of the day got rid of them, removing local government from most parts of the country. What I mean here is that in many parts of the country (e.g. Mayo, Galway, Cork and the other large counties) people can be 100 km and more from the county town and from the nearest local government office. This, in my opinion, is the opposite of local government.
Of course genuine local government, as exists on the continent, requires funding, and our government response (FF, FG, Lb) always seems to be that if they don’t want to do something (i.e. if it removes power from the government/civil service’s hands) they claim lack of funding.
Compare this to the Basque country, with well over 200 municipalities, for a population of 2.5 million at maximum. On top of this are the three provinces with wide powers, the regional govenment, and of course the Spanish central government.
I think most people will agree that in comparison, we have very very little local government, and in the bigger counties, there is nothing at all local about it.
In fact, to go back to the Basque country, each of the 3 provinces is about the size of a medium-sized county, like Meath or Leitrim. Does Leitrim have anything below the level of county? Are there any town councils in co Leitrim? I think not: therefore, by the Basque yardstick, there is no local government at all in Co. Leitrim - what they have is a distant regional-type government, with no real powers.

In fact, in my opinion, the problem is the lack of local (and regional) goverment, where all meaningful decisions are taken at the level of central government, and usually carried out by undemocratic government-controlled bodies (like fás, for instance!).

But without rates, and without a property tax, how is the limited amount of "local " government we have in this country ever going to work?
It’s not that I disagree with your comments about corruption in local politics. But the problem is the quality of local councillor, and on that point maybe the old adage about “if you pay peanuts you get monkeys” is relevant.
Our local politicians seem to look after themselves well; no shortage of expenses etc. No shortage of brown envelopes, either.
We still got monkeys, though.
Maybe the solution is a new breed of politicians, who are committed to the people of the area rather than their own pocket or who have an eye on that favour that will get them elected to the Dáil.

Some of Duffy’s recent shows on this subject have been dynamite. Jaw-dropping stuff.

It is hard to think of a topic - after banking - that more perfectly sums up all that is wrong with our economy than this. Everybody belt-tightening, many businesses only just clinging on, and yet local government seemingly utterly oblivious to it all. I get this vision of them in their council offices hermetically sealed from reality simply processing these charges and totally, 100% convinced that they are reasonable/nothing else can be done/“we’re different”. Oh man it is so depressing.

The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government have, as one of their roles, the control of local authorities.

See environ.ie/en/LocalGovernmen … istration/:

Who was Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government for the last three and a half years? None other than John Gormless.

He utterly failed in his role of controlling the financing of local authorities. He allowed them run away with spending. They got drunk on levies from developers, created nonsensical development plans, rezoned land, passed stupid planning applications and allowing the building of unneeded houses in order to get money to waste. They very actively participated in the Ponzi scheme that was Irish house-building and, arguably, were the start of the sequence of actions that lead to it. After all, unnedded houses could not have been built of the land had not be rezoned and then planning applications passed.

Local authorities should be like the rest of us: if we do not have the money, we should not be able to spend it.

Local authorities, like semi-states, have been exempt from the cost reduction measures applied to the central public services.

Gormless should have implemented policites that insisted local authorities reduced their spending in line with their revenue reduction and insisted that rates should be reduced by a defined percentage annually.

Instead, as their revenue base has dwindled, local authorities have just imposed a greater rates burden on the surviving businesses.

Gormless was too busy on more important issues like deer hunting, mink farming and stopping the Poolbeg generator.

The great lie that the Greens perpetuate is that they have always been focused on national issues. The Greens has always focussed on their own narrow agenda and ignored the bigger picture.

Yep, he took a really strong stance on this :unamused: :

independent.ie/national-news … 14994.html

Shouldn’t the organisations for small businesses be joining the dots here and organising a mass refusal to pay?