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Michael Smith raises key issues for Tipperary at Fianna Fáil, Ard Fheis and live on RTÉ

Michael Smith raises key issues for Tipperary at Fianna Fáil, Ard Fheis and live on RTÉ

· Local authorities deriving 28% of their finance from commercial rates is unsustainable

· Tipperary commercial issues in the spotlight after Smith's speech

· Smith energised and motivated all present with his empowering speech

· Speech aired on RTÉ coverage of Ard Fheis

Fianna Fáil candidate for the upcoming general election enjoyed an extremely positive reaction to his speech at the Ard Fheis on Saturday last. The theme highlighted by Smith focused on reducing the commercial rates burden and tackling upwardly only rents for business had a strong emphasis on County Tipperary. Michael Smith's presentation was aired on RTÉ over the weekend and political observers took note of the Tipperary man's natural style and energetic approach.

“Fianna Fail continues to put forward innovative policies to encourage job creation in all communities and bring balanced regional growth. Regrettably, under this government they have presided over a two tier recovery. Whatever might be happening in Dublin certainly isn't happening in Tipperary. Fine Gael and Labour have broken another Program for Government promise by failing to abolish upward only rent reviews. These leases, most of which were negotiated in different economic times, are strangling so many small and medium sized businesses around the country.

If we are serious about supporting the SME sector and encouraging growth and job creation, we must free businesses from the strangle-hold of exorbitant rents that no longer resemble market rates. Fianna Fáil has published legislation that tackles the problem of upward only rent which is crippling businesses across the country. Regrettably, however, the government rejected our pro enterprise bill.

Small businesses also need predictability in how commercial rates are calculated and most importantly, that they are proportionate and they are fair. Commercial rates are a major burden on struggling businesses throughout Tipperary and throughout the country. Retailers in towns are being burdened with financing local government to an unsustainable level with local authorities deriving 28% of their finance from commercial rates.

For entrepreneurs hoping to set up new businesses or existing retailers fighting to keep their heads above water, the commercial rates system can be the straw that breaks the camel's back and renders their efforts financially impossible.

Fianna Fáil have published extensive proposals regarding the revamping of the commercial rates system, these include creating a strong self-assessment valuation program, concessions to new local enterprises, while providing breathing space to struggling businesses. In government, we will drive to make this happen.

But today let's send a very clear message to Fine Gael and to Labour, Fianna Fáil is up for the fight, in every town, in every village, in every community Fianna Fáil will be there. My message to you is buy local, shop local, create jobs and save jobs.” The empowering speech closed to rapturous applause from all in attendance.