Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has hailed the role of Ratoath GAA Club in helping to push for an extension of rate exemptions to sports clubs. This follows the announcement today (Wednesday) by the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Simon Harris TD, that an amendment is to be made to ease the rates burden on many local sports clubs.
“Ratoath GAA Club, which is my local club, started the grass roots campaign to reform rates for sports clubs and deserves a serious pat on the back from other clubs around Ireland who will now benefit the change.
“I am glad to have played a role in this process. I met with Larry McGowan, the then Chairman of Ratoath GAA Club soon after I was elected as a TD and listened to his concerns about how rates were unfairly affecting sports clubs. I then approached Conor Tormey, the Chairman of Meath County Board who played an important role in helping to get the support of all GAA clubs in the county on this matter. More recently Donal O’Grady, the current Chair of Ratoath GAA Club contacted me to support the legislation which was announced today.
“At a national level, I raised the issue as a Topical Issues debate in Dáil Eireann and then met with the Minister for Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin, about this issue. Having backed this reform from the start, I am delighted to see it come to fruition.
“An amendment to the Valuation (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2012 will mean sports clubs that previously paid rates on its bar and on sporting buildings, will now only pay rates for the part of the building that generates income i.e. the bar in most cases. In practical terms this will reduce significantly the size of the building for which sports clubs must pay rates and it will provide a welcome boost for clubs provided by volunteers for volunteers.
“This measure introduced by Minister Harris will mean that buildings that are used for the sale of alcohol or food, retail outlets etc. will be subject to rates but buildings that are used for community sport will be exempt. If a sports club’s only commercial facility is the bar then it is only the bar and ancillary facilities that will be rated.
“This is an example of a piece of legislation that will have a very real impact on local communities. The Government is committed to improving facilities and services in all regions of the country. The economy is improving because the policies pursued are working and changes such as the amendment announced today are another indication of our dedication to supporting local communities across the country.”