BUSINESS people in Naas have been threatened with legal action by Naas Town Council over non-payment of commercial rates due to the local authority.
Letters from the Dublin law firm, Crowley Millar solicitors, acting on behalf of Naas Town Council, have been sent to a number of business people.
One of those contacted, Anne Domican of Fleming Florist’s in South Main Street, said she was unable to pay the amount demanded on behalf of the council and an offer to pay a lesser monthly instalment had been rejected.
She accused the council of wasting money and called for the council to engage with the town’s ratepayers.
It is understood letters have been sent only to ratepayers with substantial arrears.
“Everybody knows that business is not good for traders in Naas town centre. Some people have have closed down because of the rates bills demanded. I have offered to pay what I can afford to pay,” Ms. Domican told the Leader.
She also pointed out that traders have to pay for a water supply as well as refuse collection charges on top of the commercial rates bill.
Another businesswoman told the Leader that NTC appears to believe that that businesses are highly profitable.
“This is appalling. They don’t know what it is like to stand in a shop all day,” he said.
It is know known how many ratepayers have been contacted by the solicitors; although there is local speculation that upwards to 50 retailers could be in arrears to the council.
A representative of the law firm declined to comment on the letters or how much they would be paid for their work.
“We are not at liberty to discuss clients’ matters with a third party,” she said.
The majority of retailers do not dispute the bills and their case is that they cannot afford to pay because of declining business. Rates from these businesses are payable to Kildare County Council, which is itself owed millions of euro in outstanding development levies.
The letters warn the retailers that “we have instructions to take every necessary step to obtain judgement against you.” This, it adds, will result in the publication of the debt.
The letters also mention the possibility of the Sheriff taking an interest in the issue.
Naas Mayor Wilie Callaghan: “It’s the end of the year and like any other business the council has to try to balance its books,” he said, and added the use of solicitors letters was not unusual. Naas Town Clerk Ken Kavanagh did not reply to a request for information before we went to press.