BY KIERAN O'MAHONY
& JACKIE KEOGH
WHILE Martin Kelleher of Kelleher Property Services in Clonakilty welcomed this week’s Budget decision that first time house buyers will get a rebate, he said it may mean nothing for people in West Cork hoping to buy their first property.
‘The problem here is that there are no new houses being built in places like Clonakilty, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, Enniskeane or Ballineen. This rebate is only applicable to new property, so it doesn’t go to the root of the problem,’ he said. ‘I was hoping too that the VAT would be cut for builders to encourage developers into the house building business, but the government obviously didn’t want to do this.’
Martin did welcome the increase in mortgage interest relief for landlords but still believes not enough was done to encourage property owners to stay in the rental market.
Paul Di Rollo of Glentree Furniture in Dunmanway said there were no major surprises on Tuesday.
‘The government is still keeping things fiscally tight relatively, and nothing was given to small businesses. Also plans to charge a 12c fee for people using ATMs doesn’t seem fair, and may be their way of steering towards a cashless society,’ said Paul.
Bantry property consultant, Neill Clarke, said he had hoped the budget would do something to offset planning issues in Bantry town. ‘The biggest problem I see now is the uncertainty with Brexit,’ he said. Laura O’Mahony of the Westlodge Hotel said: ‘We are delighted that they retained the 9% VAT rate on food and accommodation, because it will continue to support the tourism industry. The Government could, however, have done more to soften the impact of Brexit because a lot of visitors to West Cork come from the UK and they will be feeling the effects of the drop in value of the pound.’
Meanwhile, commenting on the social protection package for farmers, Tom Wilson of West Cork ICMSA said that there will be a broad welcome. But it was on the issue of the extension of the Invalidity Pension to self-employed people, including farmers, that the Enniskeane farmer was most appreciative of, describing it as a positive and constructive decision, given that farm accidents and fatalities are too frequent an event.