Traders' fury over 'heavy-handed' rates collecting

Simon Brouder

Kerry Sinn Féin councillor Toireasa Ferris has asked Kerry County Council's senior management to explain the procedures used by some of the authority's rate collectors.

Cllr Ferris said that she has been contacted by several rate payers across the county who have claimed that the council's rate collectors are adopting, what she described as "a heavy handed approach".

"I have received a number of complaints from rate payers about what they see as a heavy handed approach by KCC in relation to the payment of rates for the second part of the year," Cllr Ferris said.

"It is only the second week of August and I have been informed businesses that have paid the bill for January to June have now received letters threatening legal action for non payment of services that have not yet been delivered. There are 4.5 months left in this period," she said.

Cllr Ferris claimed the council's image and relationship with businesses is being damaged.  "Going by the reaction of those who have rang me already this morning, this approach is certainly not fostering a positive relationship between KCC and our rate payers."

She also questioned why many Tralee businesses had been contacted ahead of the Rose of Tralee Festival after which many business owners in the town traditionally pay their rates and other annual bills.

"Equally it is bizarre, given the nature of the business of very many of our rate payers, that this demand and threat would be sent before the end of the summer season. For those in Tralee, it's incredible that it would be delivered as they are up to their eyes preparing for the busiest week of their year," she said.

Regarding rate collection Kerry County Council has said that it works closely with all rate payers to ensure affordable payment plans are available for all businesses and that no undue pressure is placed on any individual businesses.