Dáil Éireann - Volume 351 - 12 June, 1984

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - GAA Rates Relief.

37. Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for the Environment if he will introduce the necessary amending legislation to exempt GAA clubs from rates on their playing fields and club property.

Mr. Kavanagh: Rates are no longer levied on playing fields which are described as land in the Valuation Lists, while sports halls which qualify as community halls under the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act, 1978, enjoy relief from rates. I have no proposals for further relief of rates on sports property.

Mr. R. Burke: In this the centenary year of the GAA will the Minister agree to give special consideration to the facilities GAA clubs provide for people in towns and villages.

Mr. Kavanagh: Very generous grants have been given by the Government to the GAA in this centenary year. I do not have any proposals to change the regulations to comply with the Deputy's request. Obviously, such a change would have to apply to all codes of sport.

Mr. R. Burke: I am sure the Minister recognises the special role the GAA play in the life of our towns and villages. Clubs [708] have provided improved facilities in recent years but rates are proving to be a great burden. Does the Minister not see the merit in extending that relief to club properties also?

Mr. Kavanagh: While I do not intend to change the rules in regard to rates for GAA premises that is not to say that I, like the Deputy, do not have a high regard for the association and the work it has done for young people in the last century. However, I am concerned to be fair to all sporting organisations. The Government have been generous in the allocation made to the GAA in this centenary year without interfering with the rates relief. I should point out that in some instances rates relief can be sought if a community hall type of development is put forward by the GAA. One of the problems is that clubs registered under the Registration of Clubs Act, 1904, are excluded from being termed as a community hall and, therefore, are liable for rates.

Mr. R. Burke: Is the Minister aware that most club facilities have bars and represent an important social centre in towns and villages? Will the Minister review his decision on this?

Mr. Kavanagh: It would be unfair of me to give the wrong impression to the GAA. I have held discussions with the association and outlined the Department's policy.

Mr. R. Burke: The inadequate policy.

Question No. 38 postponed.