TAOISEACH Enda Kenny does not have ‘a lavish’ constituency office, nor do the majority of Castlebar’s charities pay commercial rates, as reported in this week’s Sunday Independent.
Speaking to The Mayo News last night, Cllr Ger Deere revealed he had confirmed that all of the county town’s charity shops – except Oxfam – had availed of a provision in the Valuation Act 2001. This provision allows exemptions from commercial rates for ‘any land, building or part of a building which is occupied by a body being … a charitable organisation that used the land, building or part exclusively for charitable purposes and otherwise than for private profit’.
Cllr Deere said: “I have checked with the Town Clerk and understand that charity shops can apply for an exemption under the Valuation Act 2001. I believe that all of the town’s charity shops, except for Oxfam, have availed of this provision.”
He also said that anyone who has visited the Taoiseach’s Constituency Office on Tucker Street will know that it is ‘not lavish’.
This clarification challenges the veracity of a report in the Sunday Independent, which stated that charity shops in Castlebar faced ‘demands for thousands of euro in commercial rates’. The report linked this assertion to the fact that Enda Kenny’s constituency office was exempt from such charges.
This exemption applies to all TDs constituency offices and was introduced under national valuation regulations prior to the provision made in the 2001 act.
Commenting in the article, outspoken Castlebar Independent Cllr Frank Durkan said: “It is outrageous that the Taoiseach’s lavish constituency HQ is a freebie for Enda Kenny as far as rates are concerned while Oxfam and other charity shops are being crucified,” he said.
He continued: “Enda is getting a big subvention from the country to run that office just like every other TD around the place. He should pay rates and charity shops should be exempt. I cannot believe it is even up for discussion. It is a ludicrous state of affairs.”
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