Opinion

Bog-standard economicis

Hardly a novel comment from our 1&1 interviewee this month, Fianna Fail’s Spokesman for Justice Niall Collins when he states, “Local authorities will also have to work with all retailers including pubs on issues like commercial rates. They’re not recognising that commercial rates are not linked to a business’s profitability or turnover range; the ability to pay has to be introduced into commercial rates.”

Oh, I think they do recognise that but there’s little they can afford to do, being strapped for cash thanks to central government. But the ostrich-like approach of the local authorities has become even more frustrating when they approach publicans in Dublin, for example, asking them to step into the breach as it were, to make up for the lack of public toilets in the capital as there are not the funds to build them.

Since central Dublin’s only public toilets were closed down some years ago, Dublin City Council has been keen to have a scheme introduced where Dublin City businesses would open up their toilet facilities to non-customers.

So let’s just get this straight now. Dublin City Council want to continue charging water rates for water into and out of a premises while proprietors will be expected to ensure that these facilities are now insured for all-comers?

In addition to this, staff will be expected to keep a closer eye on this non-income-generating area of the business which will naturally lead to increased labour costs. Then there’s the cost of maintenance on increased wear-and-tear, ensuring a supply of toilet paper and an increase in cleaning regimes and cleaning chemicals… Richard Guiney, Chief Executive of Dublin City’s Business Improvement District, puts the cost of every ‘flush’ at €1 – for which the Council are prepared to pay the publican…… let me see, I have it around here somewhere…… ah, there is is is, that’s right – nothing!

The council appears to think that since this was pioneered in London, the same could be done here. But pubs in London got grant-aid to permit the public to use their facilities.

One final point was made by Richard Guiney: “The greatest need for toilets is between 11.30 and 12.30 at night, when businesses are closed and men find themselves caught short”. Just how out of touch are these councils??

For that matter how out of touch is central government? Instead of trying to grow the economy, they’re piling on the cost to the consumer and still hoping for a happy ending. Transport fares in the capital are set to rise again next month thus further depleting the consumer’s pocket. It’s all bog-standard economics, the basic tenets of which have yet to be grasped by local and national government, it seems.

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