Rent move welcome but far too late – O’Mahony

Mayo Fine Gael TD John O'Mahony has welcomed the Government’s ‘belated’ move to allow businesses to benefit from lower rents, but accused Fianna Fáil of indulging in shameless delaying tactics on the matter.

Upward only rent reviews was one of the biggest concerns raised by the 1,200 business people who attended the Fine Gael business forums tour recently held across Ireland.

“The Government has finally acted to abolish upward only rent reviews, an unnecessary and damaging mechanism which prevented commercial rents from falling. This is a welcome move, but it is long overdue. Had the Government followed Fine Gael’s example, and listened to the business community, it might have taken this decision sooner,” said Dep O’Mahony in the wake of the Government’s decision.

“Upward only rent reviews have imposed enormous damage during this deep recession. It meant that the dramatic fall in property prices was not being reflected in lower rents for many businesses.

“Coupled with plummeting turnover and high business costs, upward only rent reviews have caused the loss of hundreds of jobs and businesses,” he added.

“Fine Gael welcomes this move, which was a key component of the party’s proposals to protect small and medium enterprises and has been a core policy for years. However, it is deeply regrettable that Justice Minister Dermot Ahern did not act sooner.

“Commercial rent is one of the highest costs of doing business in Ireland, driving up the price of goods and services, and damaging Irish competitiveness. A 2008 report from King Sturge ranked Ireland as the ninth most expensive place in the world to rent industrial space, above Tokyo and Zurich,” he concluded.

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