As Ireland moves to Phase 3 of the easing the COVID-19 restrictions on 29 June the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) has called on the Government to support forecourt traders as the sector has been badly affected with severely reduced turnover and profit despite many being open as essential services during the pandemic.
David Blevings, spokesperson for the IPRA explained, “The majority of our members are small family owned businesses, essentially SME’s and they have seen their fuel sales drop by c.70% during the pandemic. Despite being open as essential retailers the business has not been there as the majority of vehicles were taken off the road and profitability has suffered as a consequence.
To compound their problems, retailers are still being levied with rates bills based on the 2017 revaluation even though many have appealed these valuations as grossly unfair. Minister Humphries supported the sector’s call to establish a rates forum to review the methodology of the 2017 revaluation but to date, no action has been taken by Government.
If we don’t see a soft loan scheme for fuel retailers and a six months write off for commercial rates we will see the closure of some rural fuel sites which would be a disaster for isolated rural communities as the filling station is the mainstay of the local village”, added David.