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Parking Charges To Increase In Thurles

P.Hayes and PJ. Shanahan shake hands with the new Technological VAT Collector

It was confirmed to Thurles Chamber of Commerce during a recent Bi-Monthly meeting with Thurles Town Clerk, Mr Michael Ryan and the County Manager, Mr Matt Shortt that VAT at the rate of 21% will officially apply to public parking in Thurles town with effect from the 1st July 2010.

This further imposition of VAT arises from a case referred to the European Court of Justice, by private cark park operators. They maintained that while they needed to charge VAT on their parking spaces, Local Authorities who are in direct competition in some cases, did not.

The European Court heard that under the European Sixth VAT Directive, if a Public Body supplies the same services as a private business then VAT is applicable to the public service. The European Court ruled that Ireland must comply with this Directive.

On 4th February a Government Finance Bill made it incumbent on Local Authorities to charge VAT on many of its services from the 1st July 2010.

The Town Clerk for Thurles, Mr Michael Ryan, acknowledged that VAT will be added to the current charge in public car parks around the town in 2011, but stated that 2010 is under review and he could not confirm at this stage whether or not VAT will be added from 1st July of this year. He pointed out that this year’s budget did not include the payment of VAT to Revenue nor could the he confirm to the Chamber if VAT will be applied to all parking spaces or just cark parks, as road side parking is not in direct competition with private operators. He pointed out that these spaces are determined by the European Commission as being not subject to VAT.

Thurles Chamber also learned that under this European Directive other public services such as leisure facilities, Internet access, and waste collection will also be subject to VAT.  One example given by the County Manager was that The Source will have to charge VAT on the Internet service it supplies to its patrons and VAT will now be charged also on waste collection.

The President of Thurles Chamber Mr. Pat Hayes has called on the Council to lobby the government to now increase the contributions to local Councils, as they will now raise additional revenues from this new VAT charge.

Chamber President Pat  Hayes stated:

“The business people of Thurles are already under enormous pressure to trade in our town without customers being forced to pay more for parking. There are already substantial amounts of free car parking spaces available in Thurles and to increase charges on existing paid cark parking spaces will only make business tougher for all traders in these areas.”

The Chamber will now be lobbying all local and public representatives to ensure car parking charges do not increase with immediate effect.

It would appear that once again Europe is continuing to run our small State, which begs the question do we really need all those TD’s up in Dail Eireann.

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