VFI welcomes Flood Relief Fund but calls for Commercial Rate Exemptions in 2016

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) today welcomed the swift action by government to support businesses affected by the recent flooding. The VFI has however contacted the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, asking that he instruct local authorities to give those businesses affected by the floods a 12 month exemption from commercial rates.

Padraig Cribben, CEO of the VFI said; “The €5m flood relief fund is very welcome, as is the trust based system that is being operated in the first phase. However, we are calling for more measures to help pubs, and indeed all small businesses in areas affected. We are specifically proposing that businesses affected be given a 12 month exemption from commercial rates in 2016.

“The initial funds of up to €5,000 and more will help repair the damage caused, but the loss of income due to closure at such a vital time for pubs and retailers in particular will be much more significant in many places. In order to help get businesses back on their feet and to protect vulnerable jobs, taking away the burden of commercial rates would help enormously and would be easy to administer. It must be realised that for many retail businesses these weeks are normally more important than any others in the year. For that reason also this measure is imperative.