Tallow Garda Station is not facing closure.
Rumours have been circulating in West Waterford that the local station was about to join Ballyduff Upper and Stradbally in being closed down this year.
I have sought public clarification on the matter through the Joint Policing Committee. I did so having already been told by Chief Superintendent Pat Murphy that there are no plans to close the Garda Station, though some rostering arrangements are being reviewed
While I understand people's fears, I am concerned with how this rumour emerged.
The Waterford County Community Forum, a non-political organisation set up by the County Development Board, had publicised a planned public meeting about the supposed station closure.
The new pilot tax incentive scheme aimed at revitalising Waterford City centre is being teased out with the Department of Finance by Fine Gael TD John Deasy, who says it’s “a work in progress” and will change during negotiations with the EU Commission over the coming months.
Introduced as part of the Finance Bill last week, the Living City Initiative focuses on urban regeneration in Waterford and Limerick exclusively. The special tax provisions — which are dependent on EU State Aid approval and an an ex-ante cost benefit analysis — are designed to boost the lot of owner/occupiers rather than property developers. The incentives target small enterprises and retailers in particular, “to truly encourage a ‘Living’ city centre” with a large and diverse range of shops.
Deputy Deasy had been pressing Government ministers for these specific tax incentives to get money circulating in the local economy among businesses and tradespeople — especially in the heart of the city. He has since spoken with the Department of Finance about what will qualify in terms of Georgian architecture and the relevant buildings that can be included in the final order. The specific areas to be designated will be discussed with Waterford City Council.
::: Download the details here
“It’s now a question of making the final draft as beneficial as possible,” Mr Deasy says, urging people “to take time to study the proposals and avail of this measure. I’m also looking, with the Department, at the issue of whether long-term leaseholders can be included as eligible for the tax relief. I believe that the definition of ‘Retail’ should be quite broad so as to include the service sector, and am hopeful it will not be a strict definition. I’ve also asked the Revenue Commissioners to define what’s described as ‘a certain amount of work’ before these incentives can kick in.”
He described the Bill’s provisions as “a tacit recognition of the difficulties Waterford City is facing in terms of urban decay and unemployment” — something he’s highlighted consistently over the past two years. “These targeted incentives are part of the required response, but are not a panacea in any sense,” he stressed.
Having again met with Department officials and Minister Michael Noonan, and others, in the past week, Deputy Deasy acknowledged “there will be changes in the detail of the tax incentives as part of the discussions with the European Commission. The Finance Bill has been written to allow flexibility and, while there are going to be fundamental restrictions, I’m hopeful that leeway will be given to have a real economic impact on Waterford.”
As to who will benefit, he explained: “In the case of a business, you will need to own and operate the business if you’re to avail of the tax reliefs, and you must be an owner/occupier to qualify for the residential aspect of the scheme.
“Also, it’s been made absolutely clear to me that the write-offs which will be included will only be related to income tax, and not any other kind of personal taxation such as property tax. This won’t be anything like the previous investor tax reliefs which were very lucrative for certain individuals but ultimately very damaging to the economy as a whole.
“This is a lengthy process and there are fundamental restrictions, but I think there is room to work with to maximise the impact this can have on the city,” Deputy Deasy concluded.
AS THINGS STAND
Retailers will be entitled to relief on works undertaken to upgrade or refit their shops. Accelerated Capital Allowances will be available to allow them to claim for refitting works, etc. over a 7-year period at a rate of 15% for the first 6 years and 10% for the final year.
Residents in qualifying Georgian houses will be able to claim tax relief for refurbishment costs at the rate of 10% per year for 10 years against their income. For instance, if the total costs amount to €25,000 the resident can claim €2,500 each year as a deduction for a period of 10 years — if it’s the principal private residence and not sold.
::: The Al Mahmoud Express
Live Exports of cattle from Waterford to Libya are to resume this week, almost 17 years after the last such shipment left the Port.
Department of Agriculture officials recently granted approval after a second detailed inspection of the Syrian-registered ship, which will take 2,900 head of cattle to Tripoli.
The Department has been working towards this week’s sailing for some time, so as to give farmers an alternative outlet for certain categories of livestock and provide increased competition in the market place.
The option of live cattle exports offers a release valve for farmers who can’t afford to hold onto animals in wet weather and are forced to take them to the factory, and to accept whatever prices processors set. Like Minister Simon Coveney has said, the resumption of this trade will help to underpin cattle prices for the coming months.
It follows efforts by officials in Dublin and the Irish embassy in Rome over a considerable period of time to secure access to the Libyan market, where there is a real demand for suitable animals.
Libya, in particular, was an important live cattle export destination in the past. In 1995 a total of 82,433 cattle valued at more than €70 million were shipped there. However, business came to an abrupt halt the following year when Libya banned beef imports due to the outbreak of BSE.
It should be stressed that Ireland has a strict system of transport rules in respect of both national and international journeys. The current Irish regulations in relation to the approval of ships for the carriage of cattle have been in place since 1996, following a comprehensive review of certification standards.
Ireland sets a higher standard than other EU Member States and this is justified not only on sound animal welfare reasons but also because it reflects the nature of the shipping routes from this island. I am satisfied the necessary veterinary checks will be diligently enforced during the 10-day trip.
The resumption of live beef exports is also a boost for the Port of Waterford, which has lost a lot of business over recent years and needs additional commercial users. While it’s unclear when the next shipment might be, this is a good start.
Read more here
The Public Accounts Committee recently called Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan. Towards the end of our discussion I felt it "appropriate that I should speak on behalf of my own constituency" on "an issue that affects the western side of my county."
I noted that Enterprise Ireland has been in talks with individuals who came together to put together a proposal to the agency for Cappoquin Chickens, the food processor, saying: "Effectively, the company brings commercial life into the west of the county. There is no great industrial manufacturing base on that side of Waterford."
Frank Ryan acknowledged as much in his reply: "I am conscious that Cappoquin Chickens is a trading entity and will respond with that in mind. We have been in deep and regular, almost continuous, contact with that company and the new start-up over the past two months. I and my colleagues met the full senior management team last Wednesday [Jan 23]. We continue to work with them. We are impressed by the management team there and we continue our interaction with them. We are very conscious that the jobs lost in that part of Waterford could not be replaced in the foreseeable future.
I concluded by impressing on Mr. Ryan "the singular importance of that operation to that part of the county because of the dearth of an industrial commercial base in that area. It is absolutely critical."