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More publicity needed on rates reduction scheme

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*Kilrush Town Hall. 

Efforts to increase the publicity of a rates reduction scheme in West Clare have been condemned.

Director of Rural Development within Clare County Council, Leonard Cleary was called upon by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) to “detail the efforts that have been made for the county and in the West Clare MD to publicise the rate reduction scheme for vacant properties”.

However the response to his motion was provided by the Finance Department with Cllr Lynch making the observation “I directed this in your direction Leonard but I’d say you used the bat to give it to finance” at the most recent sitting of the West Clare MD.

Three schemes are operated by the local authority “to aid commercial rate payers”. These include the early payment incentive scheme, vacant properties and long term vacant property scheme. All three were advertised “when rates bills were issued having first been approved at Council level,” Trina Rynne noted in her reply.

“Staff from the rates section engage with customers on an ongoing basis and endeavour to raise awareness of incentives available to commercial rate payers,” the financial accountant added.

Cllr Lynch was nonplussed with the detail provided in the response. “None of the stuff says what has been done. Meeting with business people won’t attract someone in there. Are we really serious about the scheme? We should be trying to encourage young people to set up shop to revitalise centre of towns and villages”.

“They’re advertising when they are sending the rates bill,” Cllr Shane Talty (FF) quipped. He praised Cllr Lynch for bringing forward “a very valid point”.

Cleary told the meeting that the Finance Department were willing to hold a briefing session with councillors to discuss the schemes. “There is a piece of work to be done. It could help breathe life into hollow centres of towns and villages. We’ll take the points on board”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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