Seanad debates

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Local Government Rates and Other Matters Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages


10:30 am

Photo of Paul GavanPaul Gavan (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for his response. In fairness, he always gives a thoughtful response on these matters. I will make a couple of brief points, and I thank my colleague, Senator Humphreys, in respect of this aspect. Section 6(3) is important. It states: "The Minister may by direction in writing amend or revoke a direction under this section (including a direction under this subsection)." We have built in the power to address that in the Bill.

On the point my colleague, Senator Coffey, made, I fully understand that this has to be revenue neutral. There will not be a loss of revenue here. The legal issues referred to by Senator Coffey, and the Minister of State, are issues for the Minister but I believe businesses expect a more subtle and realistic approach to rates.

We support this Bill. We are not opposing it overall but we believe the Minister of State has missed an opportunity to phase in these increases in particular. I refer to Irish Water which, I have been informed, has introduced just such an undertaking. If a State authority can do this in one area, I am at a loss as to why the Minister could not consider doing something similar.


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