Interesting to see the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) ask the Government, “in the interest of transparency”!! to publish the advice from the Attorney General on the issue of upward only rent reviews (UORR).
As we know the Government promised left, right and centre to abolish the UORR in the run up to the last election. Labour even launched their campaign from a premises subsequently closed down by sky-hi rent review. Then, when in power, they collectively ran for cover behind the Attorney General’s skirts and reneged on the promise.
The Government thinks this problem has gone away but it hasn't. Many small businesses are still struggling to cope with the high rents which, when combined with decreased levels of consumer spending puts their very survival on the line.
Sadly, for many small businesses the problem has gone away. Why? Because it’s too late, they've already had to close down.
Senator Feargal Quinn's Bill on upward only rent reviews is a way to deal with the problem. Advice from Senior Counsel provided some time ago on this topic has made it very clear that legislation to address upward only rents would be constitutional. Our position in ISME is that the legislation should be allowed to go through the Dáil. Then it will be for the President to decide whether or not it should be referred to the Supreme Court.
So, Minister Fitzgerald, heed the NCC, heed senior counsel, heed the SME owners, both still in business and those with closed businesses and come out from behind mammy’s skirt, take Senator Feargal Quinn's Bill and have it passed by the Dáil without further delay.