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Threat to withhold rates

Threat to withhold rates

Claire Egan

A THREAT has been issued by Ballinrobe businesspeople to withhold commercial rates from the Council, in protest at the perceived neglect of the south Mayo town.
At a public meeting in the town on Thursday last, a prominent business person stated that  ‘value for money’ was not being received by commercial rate-payers, as none of the money was being ‘reinvested in the town’.
“I have no problem paying my rates, but I don’t feel any of the money is staying in the town. I would certainly be happy to withhold my rates until some action is taken by the Council in this regard,” the businessperson said.
The proposal - which arose from a heated discussion on a number of key issues in Ballinrobe, including the need for a bypass, the town’s traffic problem, the lack of progress on a long-promised community nursing unit, the need for pedestrian crossings - was backed by nine other businesspeople present, and by all members of the public in attendance. A second proposal - to hold the rates in a special fund which would not be paid over to the Council immediately - also received widespread support, but in the end it was decided to consult further with all ratepayers in the town before action is taken.
When contacted by The Mayo News on the matter, Mr Padraic Flanagan, Mayo County Council, responded by saying that ‘commercial rates are bills that must be paid by law’.
“Commercial rates are like any other bill and must be paid. You cannot decide to withhold rates as you are legally obliged to pay them and failure to do so could result in legal proceedings being taken against you,” said Mr Flanagan.
Mr Flanagan stated that if individuals had particular issues they should seek to have them addressed through the relevant channels rather than resorting to withholding commercial rates.