Commercial rates are a 'huge burden' in Wexford
A Wexford town businessman says that commercial rates are a huge burden to bear on top of all the other business-related costs.
Frank Hynes was commenting on the shock closure of two local hotels - the Cedar's in Rosslare Strand and the Harbour View Hotel in Rosslare Harbour and other businesses - after a judgement for unpaid commercial rates on the Courthouse Hotel in Carlow was awarded to Carlow County Council against the same County Wexford-based owners, Chan Holdings Limited.
'(I'm) very sad to hear of this, but commercial rates are a huge cost to bear on top of all other business-related costs, charges and taxes,' said Mr. Hynes.
'In Wexford in particular the rates are amongst the highest in the country and are higher than Co Dublin. The business community have been pleading with the local council for a reduction to these extortionate rates for year's but alas these requests were denied.
'Look at our population in relation to Dublin.. it's madness that we're paying more in rates,' Mr. Hynes told this newspaper.
He said that he had many friends in other jewellery businesses in Ireland and cited two - one in Portlaoise and the other in Tullamore - who had premises of a similar size to his own and who paid half of the €8,500 a year in commercial rates he pays to Wexford County Council for his Main Street premises.
'We try to remain positive as a business community and it's sad to see any business fail and while none of us mind paying rates, because services have to be paid for, what we need is affordable rates,' said Mr. Hynes.
'I'm not knocking the council but I would like to see them engaging more with businesses if they are in financial difficulty. If they were more amenable to reducing rates for companies that are in trouble it would make more sense than seeing those businesses close.'
Mr. Hynes said commercial rates were one of his company's biggest bills and he appreciated the assistance the council had given in allowing businesses to pay the rates monthly, but the recession had gone on for years and companies still needed all the help they could get as the economy slowly improved.
'It has been a tough seven years for all businesses, no matter what you are selling, from a watch to a sandwich.'