Fianna Fáil councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice has called for Roscommon County Council to introduce casual trading by-laws.
Speaking at a recent Council meeting, the Castlerea man said that business owners who paid rates were at a major disadvantage because of a lack of regulation of casual trading.
This should be immediately recified, he said.
“I would love to see us be brave and take a step forward in this county and bring in casual trading by-laws to help ratepayers to have some sort of an even playing ground when it comes to selling goods,” Cllr. Fitzmaurice said.
While he accepted that there were ‘some issues’ regarding introducing by-laws because of a European Commission ruling, he said that Dublin City Council still implemented them two years ago.
“It is frustrating to me to try to explain to ratepayers as to why there is a fella outside their door selling flowers or vegetables or fish or whatever it is, and he doesn’t pay anything to the local authority,” Cllr. Fitzmaurice added.
He said that, on the other hand, businesses operating “a couple of yards away” had to pay rates of up to €5,000.
“It is frustrating for me and it is frustrating for them to see this is going on,” Cllr. Fitzmaurice, a Castlerea-based businessman, said.
“It is very tough out there at the moment in business but, in relation to casual trading by-laws, I have to explain at least once a week to some traders why those people don’t have to pay money,” he said.
At the same meeting, it was revealed that commercial rates of €1.86 million were unpaid in the county in 2015 – €705,780 in the Athlone Municipal District (MD), €502,902 in the Boyle MD and €654,714 in the Roscommon MD.