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Connemara hotelier makes €2.3 million tax settlement

Enda Cunningham

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A Connemara hotelier has topped the list of Irish tax defaulters in the latest quarterly list from Revenue – after settling for more than €2.3 million.

Colm Redmond, of the four star Zetland Country House Hotel in Cashel Bay, had the biggest settlement in the country for the period which covers October 1 to December 31. A total of nine individuals and one company based in Galway appear on the latest list, with the local settlements totalling almost €2.9m.

Mr Redmond reached the €2.3m settlement following an audit by Revenue. It comprises more than €1.1m in tax, €860,000 in interest and €330,000 in penalties for under-declaration of income tax, VAT and Capital Gains Tax.

Tourism facilities operator Aiseanna Mara Teoranta of 56C Bowling Green in Galway, settled for just over €141,000 after an audit found VAT had been under-declared. The settlement includes just under €95,000 in tax, €17,500 in interest and €28,500 in penalties.

Pauline Whyte, a consultant anaesthetist from Barna, settled for just under €70,000 for under-declaration of income tax. That comprises €48,500 in tax, €6,800 in interest and €14,400 in penalties.

Garage owner Declan Bannerton from Station Road in Ballinasloe settled for more than €59,500 for under-declaration of income tax and VAT following a Revenue audit. The settlement comprises just under €36,000 in tax, €12,800 in interest and €10,800 in penalties.

Former company director Thomas Burke from Oranscourt in Oranmore reached a settlement for €58,500 for non-declaration of income tax, which includes €33,000 in tax, €15,000 in interest and €9,800 in penalties.

Publican Desmond O’Brien from Kilrickle, settled for almost €52,000 for under-declaration of income tax and VAT, which includes €33,000 in tax, €8,400 in interest and almost €10,000 in penalties.

Taxi driver Sean O’Grady from Riverside in Galway settled with Revenue for €48,650 for under-declaration of income tax following an audit. The settlement comprises €26,400 in tax, €10,400 in interest and €11,700 in penalties.

Bernard O’Brien from Dublin Road in Tuam, listed as a footwear retailer, was audited and reached a settlement of €45,000 for under-declaration of VAT. That comprises €24,000 in tax, €7,900 in interest and €13,000 in penalties.

PAYE worker Martin Egan from Ballydavid, Athenry was audited and reached a settlement of €43,600 for under-declaration of VAT and income tax. The settlement comprises €28,000 in tax, €7,230 in interest and €8,100 in penalties.

The final Galway name on the list is publican Elaine Fahy from Doorus in Kinvara, who settled for just under €36,000 for under-declaration of VAT and income tax following a Revenue audit.

The settlement comprises €22,500 in tax, €5,000 in interest and €8,200 in penalties.

CITY TRIBUNE

Designated drinking zones in city centre are ‘only solution’

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Properly staffed designated areas are the only solution to out-of-control outdoor boozing, according to the city councillor who drafted the city’s drinking bylaws.

Cllr Peter Keane told the Galway City Tribune it was likely that councillors would seek to ‘tweak’ the existing bylaws in the near future to find a long-term solution that would enable young people to ‘enjoy a drink outdoors in a safe and controlled environment’, not just now, but in the future too.

To avoid a repeat of scenes around Spanish Arch over recent weekends, the Fianna Fáil councillor said providing areas where the consumption of alcohol was allowed would enable Gardaí to properly enforce the drinking bylaws throughout the rest of the city.

He said he could ‘absolutely appreciate the concerns of residents’ in the Claddagh and elsewhere where anti-social behaviour including urinating in gardens ‘and worse’ had been a blight in recent weeks, but said with proper control, those worst excesses could be avoided.

In the first ten days of June, 83 on-the-spot fines were issued in the city for drinking in a public place.

And last Saturday night, Gardaí closed off the Quincentenary Bridge after hundreds of young people gathered on the carriageway and turned it into a “highly-dangerous road traffic risk situation”.

“Control is the key word for me. Gardaí don’t have the resources, nor do they have the appetite as far as I can see, to deal with the lack of control there has been during the recent good weather.
“If you were to designate, say for example the Spanish Arch or a green area in Salthill, where the bylaws didn’t apply, you could put a number of wardens in place there to control the situation. You could provide adequate bins and toilets, and enough bodies to staff it, and that would allow gardaí to police the bylaws elsewhere,” said Cllr Keane.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and coverage of the re-opening of the hospitality sector and outdoor dining, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Dispute simmers between businesses and Council over outdoor spaces

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Friction between businesses and local government over the reclaiming of public space to facilitate outside hospitality marred the beginning of the city’s ‘outdoor summer’.

Galway City Council has come under fire over its handling of plans by bars and restaurants to use street furniture to facilitate outdoor dining and drinking.

Most city watering holes and eateries resumed trading on Bank Holiday Monday – serving outdoors only – for the first time since Christmas, and the authorities reported that it was successful for the most part, although it needed time to ‘bed in’.

The city vintners’ group said its members with adequate outdoor space were happy to be back and described the mood as ‘euphoric’ in places.

But several outlets expressed disappointment with the Council.

In Eyre Square, the Skeff Late Bar and Kitchen claimed it had to cancel 200 advance bookings – up to 800 people – for this week, after the Council refused permission for “extended outdoor seating”.

On Middle Street, Sangria Tapas Restaurant lashed the Council for refusing it permission to use certain types of awning and windbreakers to facilitate outdoor dining. “Surely the powers that be can take time to support the industry that supports the city?” its proprietor said in a complaint to City Hall.

‘Back the West’, businesses criticised the Council for rowing back on promises to provide additional outdoor space on Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper, in time for outdoor hospitality’s reopening on June 7.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council chief: ‘landlords see 4% rent increase cap as a target’

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said that the 4% annual cap on residential rent increases is now seen as a target by many landlords.

Brendan McGrath said that affordability continues to be a major problem for renters in the city and that an increasing number of people availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme have to pay ‘top ups’ to their landlords.

The HAP scheme replaces rent supplement for those with a long-term housing need – the individual finds a private rented accommodation within specific rent caps and the Council pays the landlord directly. The tenant then pays a rent to the Council based on their weekly household income.

The maximum monthly rents under the scheme range from €330 for an adult in shared accommodation to €900 for a single parent or couple with three kids.

Based on their household size, tenants can also apply for a 20% extra ‘discretionary’ payment on top of their HAP payment.

However, Mr McGrath said many on the HAP scheme in Galway have to pay top ups to their landlords.

“Rents as a percentage of income is increasing and affordability remains a major problem for the city’s renters. The majority of HAP tenants require additional discretionary payments to assist them in maintaining their tenancies, particularly single person households.

“An increasing number of HAP tenants now have to pay top ups to their landlords even with the 20% extra HAP discretionary payment applied for their particular household size,” Mr McGrath said in a report to councillors.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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