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Commercial rates appeals fall on deaf ears due to staff shortage

Galway business owners attempting to appeal commercial rates revaluations are being met with silence due to staff shortages.

That’s according to local TD Seán Canney (pictured), who said Táilte Éireann, the Government office running the county’s rates revaluation, did not have the resources and as a result, businesspeople were not being treated with the “respect” they deserved.

“I was contacted by a businessman who submitted appeals last November in respect of three offices he runs and he got no response.

“When he got in contact with them, they told him they had no record of his appeals. He asked then to speak to a more senior person who apologised profusely and told him they didn’t have the staff,” said Deputy Canney.

He said the rates revaluation, which is ongoing across the county, had been planned for years and it was unacceptable that there were not the resources to deal with those seeking to appeal the valuation certificates issues to them.

“It’s a damning indictment on the system to suggest at this point that it is not resourced. If a businessperson was to say that they didn’t have enough administrative staff to sort their rates payment, I don’t think that would be accepted,” he said.

“These rates will be set in stone for a good few years and will be an ongoing liability for businesses – it’s important that it’s got right.”

People were seeking appeals for a number of reasons, said Deputy Canney, including a reduced premises size which can have a marked impact on their commercial rate.

Overall, the county’s new rate is not expected to yield any greater amount of income for the County Council, but some businesses will pay more while others will pay less.

Raising the matter with the Tánaiste Micheál Martin in the Dáil, Deputy Canney insisted that more resources were required to ensure businesses had every opportunity to have the correct new rate applied.

Mr Martin committed to raising the matter with the Minister for Local Government but said significant funding had been provided to Táilte.

“I do not know if they are having recruitment issues or whatever, I cannot get into the micro level of who is answering phone calls or not in a given situation. However, I will certainly speak to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage,” said the Tánaiste.

“There has never been more finding allocated than in recent years. We need some efficiencies and better ways of working,” continued Mr Martin.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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