Flood-hit traders issue town rates ultimatum
Bandon traders warned the Government that if an OPW flood relief scheme does not reach construction phase next June they will begin withholding commercial rates.
OPW Minister Simon Harris was presented with the ultimatum from west Cork traders as he visited Bandon and Skibbereen to inspect flood damage.
"Sixty businesses with an annual rates bill of €1m are petitioning on a 'no flood relief, no rates' basis," a Bandon Flood Group (BFG) statement warned.
"Businesses believe they are being reasonable in this regard and will withhold rates in June if this work has not begun."
Montessori operator, Gillian Powell, said the combined rates paid by Bandon traders since the disastrous 2009 flood would pay for the €12m flood protection scheme twice-over.
Ms Powell said flooding across Ireland now represents "a national emergency."
Trader Patrick O'Sullivan said further delays to the vital flood defence project cannot be tolerated.
Munster Arms Hotel owner, Don O'Sullivan, urged Mr Harris to insist all State agencies undertake interim measures such as wall heightening and drainage valves to protect the town.
Mr O'Sullivan said the OPW project won't offer full flood defences until at least 2018.