Sports clubs ‘rates’ rebate?

MOYLE District Council is to get legal opinion on the possibility of offsetting the costs of rates charged to sports clubs in their area.

The decision follows a campaign by Independent councillor Padraig McShane to rid the voluntary sports sector of the requirement to pay rates to local and central government.

Councillor McShane’s proposal would see clubs continue to pay rates with monies of the same amount being reimbursed to offset costs of public liability insurances, infrastructure and the promotion of more uptakes in the sports.

He stated: “We all recognise the system of charging rates to the voluntary sports sector is both unreasonable and unfair. We take for granted the goodwill of the sector in meeting the demands that we as a Council are supposed to meet.

“This proposal would help to address the inherent unfairness in the rates system and help promote the free delivery of sports in the District. It is important that we use the opportunity to meet our statutory requirements in providing and promoting the opportunity for healthy lifestyles.”

Cllr Colum Thompson (Sinn Fein) said they owed sports clubs a great debt especially in the Glens area where he said clubs provided facilities over the years when the Council didn’t.

Cllr Joan Baird (Ulster Unionist) was concerned about the legality of giving rates rebates and she said equality considerations might come into play. If sports clubs get concessions other groups may want money back also, she pointed out.