Councillors sanction new record high commercial rate on rural businesss.
Sinn Fein abstain from vote.
Sligo News File Online.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail members of Sligo County Council have voted to raise the commercial rate on rural shops and other local enterprises, sparking fears for the future of the already struggling rural economy
Margaret Gormley, an Independent member of the authority, said
she was deeply disappointed at the decision, especially since many smaller businesses are barely surviving as it is.
She believed the increase in the commercial rate- which comes at the same time that the rate on urban-based premises is being slashed – will lead to business closures across the rural hinterland.
The motion to increase the rural rate was supported by councillors Tommie MacSharry, Jerry Lundy, Keith Henry and Seamus Kilgannon, all Fianna Fail and Hubert Keaney, Sinead Maguire and Dara Mulvey, Fine Gael. It was opposed by Cllrs. Paul Taylor and Martin Baker, Fianna Fail, and Independents Margaret Gormley, Marie Casserley, Michael Clarke and Joseph Queenan. Cllrs.Thomas Healy and Sean MacManus, Sinn Fein abstained. Cllrs. Rosaleen O’Grady, Fianna Fail and Gino O’Boyle, People Before Profit were absent.
In another potentially crippling blow for the rural economy, some farmers face losing their holdings as pressure grows for the settlement of unpaid loans.
According to reports, agri representatives have been receiving calls and letters from distraught farm owners who claim they are being ‘bullied’ by some financial institutions.
There is growing concern that a generation of farm families could be wiped out as vulture funds or other financial entities take possession of land holdings up and down the country.
The pressure of unresolvable debt is driving many farmers to suicide, it is feared.
One prominent campaigner has said that when farmers lose their land and home,”they lose their life, and their children lose their futures.”