CORK City Council is being urged to consider introducing a moratorium on commercial rates during the coronavirus outbreak if there is not a national directive on the issue.
It comes as businesses around the city and county announce their temporary closure in the wake of the outbreak, with estimates that around 140,000 people nationally have been laid off.
Fine Gael City Councillor Shane O’Callaghan raised the issue at a special meeting of Cork City Council on Monday night.
He says that while the Covid-19 crisis is, first and foremost, a public health crisis, that it is also a major economic crisis. “Small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of this country’s economy. If a large amount of them go to the wall because of this crisis, leading to huge job losses and a significant decrease in tax revenue, it will have an enormously negative effect on our society.
“Every effort needs to be made at both national and local level to ensure that our local businesses survive this crisis,” he added.
Monday’s meeting was closed to the media. However, speaking after the meeting Mr O’Callaghan said the chief executive told councillors that the council was waiting for a national directive on the issue of commercial rates. “I said that if this is not forthcoming, then Cork City Council should take the lead on this,” Mr O'Callghan said.