Town Mayor, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke has welcomed the recent Government announcement confirming that a commercial rates waiver will remain in situ for the first quarter of the calendar year.
“I very much welcome the announcement from Government this week that the rates waiver will continue in place for at least the first quarter of 2021.
“While we await the exact detail of the scheme, I imagine it will be a little different to the blanket waiver that was in place last year. I expect it to be more targeted to those most severely impacted such as the hospitality, leisure, childcare, personal care, entertainment and retail (excluding large supermarkets ) sectors.
“It is estimated that the extension of the waiver to these categories of business in the first quarter of 2021 will cost €160 million.
“The Minister said that the waiver of commercial rates beyond the first quarter of 2021 will be kept under review and considered in the context of public health guidelines at that particular time,” Cllr O’Rourke stated.
Ongoing Covid-19 Scams
Meanwhile, Cllr O’Rourke has warned members of the local public to pay due heed to several ongoing Covid-19 scams specifically aimed at targeting elderly persons.
“The HSE and the Gardai say they are aware of several instances where elderly persons have reported receiving suspicious phone calls about ‘their’ vaccine appointment.
“People purporting to be from the HSE ask people over the telephone for personal details, such as their age and whether or not they live alone. The caller then offers to come to their home to administer the vaccine and they request payment in advance.
This scam targeting older folk is the lowest of the low, it is absolutely scurrilous. Older folk are frightened and anxious enough, this is the last thing they need now.
“Gardaí have urged people to be wary of the scam, and to warn older or vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends not to give out any personal details, especially if they are living alone.
“There is also a similar Covid-19 related scam, this one involves text messages.
“Two people have contacted me about a text message they received in recent times, purporting to be from the HSE, asking them to confirm their availability for a supposed vaccination appointment. The message asks the receiver to provide a PPS number, date of birth and a home address.
“Anyone who has received this message has been asked not to respond to it. Gardai have stated that they are unaware if the texts and phone calls are part of the same operation.
“Just recently, the HSE issued a clear statement saying that they will never text or call individuals requesting personal information and they will never request payment for a Covid-19 test or vaccine and that local GPs will be the first point of contact about vaccination or testing.
The Town Mayor further noted that an additional scam scenario alleged to be from Revenue had also been reported to him in recent times.
“Another scam text message, this one purportedly from Revenue, has also been reported online in recent days.
“Here, the receiver gets a text message informing them of their eligibility for a rebate. A web link is provided, and the person is asked to click on it for more information.
“In a statement, Revenue said it had become aware of fraudulent emails and text messages purporting to have come from them.
“They said they never send emails or text messages requiring customers to send personal information via email, text or pop-up windows,” Cllr O’Rourke concluded.