The Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) is the trade association for independent petrol retailers in Ireland. The sector employs over 100,000 people and if you include family this represents over 250,000 people dependent on the industry. Many of our members are smaller retail sites, often the bedrock and only retail facility in some rural villages.
Firstly, we want to congratulate you on your appointment as Tánaiste and wish you well in that position.
Secondly, as you prepare your support package to help businesses navigate their way out of the pandemic, please be aware of the issues surrounding the revaluation of retail forecourts and the huge disparity in valuations between forecourts and large retail operators. I have attached our white paper clearly outlines the issue and demonstrates that retail sites are penalised for having fuel pumps outside their retail business. The independent service station operator has not been treated fairly and we would really appreciate your assistance in seeking a resolution to the current impasse.
Despite being open as an essential service during the pandemic, our members are reporting a reduction in fuel sales of up to 70%. The smaller independent retailer will not survive if Government does not tackle this inequality as a matter of urgency as our members’ are being asked for these revised rate payments now and are not in a position to pay them post Covid-19.
As well as including retail forecourts in any support plan (a rate exemption for one year would be our suggestion) can your office request from senior civil servants in the valuation office an explanation for their rationale in reducing the rateable valuation for most businesses in the country when these businesses were not even requesting reductions and then to clearly target 4 or 5 specific business sectors and impose extraordinary excessive increases of 300-400% on these sectors to try and make up the shortfall?