The Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his duties under the Valuation Act, 2001 and the making of valuations for rating purposes is his sole prerogative and the statute does not accord the Minister any function in this regard. The position is that the Valuation Act, 2001 provides for the exemption from rates of land that is developed for sport such as playing pitches. There is also provision for the exemption of community halls which are not licensed to sell alcohol and where the facilities are not used for profit and involve participation by inhabitants of the locality generally and are recreational or otherwise of a social nature.
However, the Act provides that where an organisation or club is registered under the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904 and is licensed to sell alcohol, all the club buildings, wherever located, are rateable in their entirety. The legislation is unambiguous in this regard and the Valuation Office has no option but to consider all such premises to be rateable. The sale of alcohol is a commercial activity and the club is competing with other commercial licensed premises in their locality, all of which are rateable. The apportionment of club premises between areas used for the sale of alcohol and those areas used for other activities could be operationally problematic and lead to anomalies in the rateability of premises licensed to sell alcohol. Therefore, in equity, exemption from rates can only be achieved by the cessation of the liquor licence. There are no plans to provide for special treatment of licensed clubs under the Valuation Act, 2001 which maintains the long-standing principle that all commercial activities are valued in a fair and equitable manner.
It is not proposed to provide for special treatment of licensed sports clubs under the Valuation (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2012 as to do so would result in demands for similar preferential treatment from other interests.