Wednesday, 24th September 2014
- Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Simon Harris TD, announces amendment to ease the rates burden on local sports clubs.
The proposal by Minister Harris to amend the Valuation Act to reduce the rates burden on local sports clubs is very welcome. Under current the system many sports clubs are charged commercial rates on dressing rooms and sports halls as well as on those parts of the facilities which generate income. This system has meant that many voluntary clubs that have a bar on their premises end up paying rates on the entire buildings, not just those parts that generate income. As a former chairperson of my local GAA club I am well of the heavy burden of rates imposed on sports clubs and I know that this change will be of great help in allowing additional funding to be used for the core activities of all clubs.
This proposal 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, usually just the bar. 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.
Buildings that are used for the sale of alcohol or food, retail outlets etc. will be rated 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.
Local sports clubs are the backbone of our community, these clubs are run by people giving freely of their time and many are largely financed from fundraising in the local community. Making changes to legislation that will make it easier for sports clubs to operate and reduces the financial burden on clubs will benefit local communities.
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.