Almost €3 million in commercial rates is still owed to Kilkenny County Council this year.
Yesterday’s meeting of the local authority heard much of that debt is unlikely to be collected by the end of December, and so will roll forward in arrears for 2021.
It comes as the council has received €8.6 million so far in government compensation for the commercial rates waiver.
Cathaoirleach Andrew McGuinness says it’s important that local businesses are shown compassion as the pandemic continues, telling KCLR News “It’s a very difficult time for businesses, they don’t know what’s around the corner in terms of Covid, businesses have been closed and reopened again, employers have had to let staff go, they’ve had to rethink their approach in terms of their online presence and all of that kind of thing, I would hope that the Christmas period will bring back up income for local businesses but at the moment they’re struggling, they’re struggling to pay the rates, they’re struggling to pay all of their bills so I think we have to be compassionate when it comes to that”.
Over €11 million has been paid out to Kilkenny businesses since the pandemic began with the payment spread among local traders under the Restart Grant Scheme.
Cathaoirleach Andrew Mc Guinness says many of those who received such monies are still struggling, noting “It’s important to point out that while local businesses may have benefitted from the various grants that have been put in place, they were put in place out of necessity, they were put in place because local businesses have lost so much and they needed the dig out to be able to, for example, build new websites or provide social distancing and health and safety measures on their premises, it’s positive to see the funding and grants being allocated and all of the work being done but it’s an unfortunate time for everybody, particularly local businesses”.