“Why was it necessary to buy off the LLC?” queried Mr Gerry Lodge at Monday’s Portlaoise Town Commission meeting, touching on the redemption of a fair day “quit rent”.
He alluded to the days of Cromwell, when land was seized and tolls imposed on the people.
The manager, Mr EM Murray, explained that the town commission has been paying a small annual sum and had redeemed that with a payment of £24.
This saved the trouble of paying annually £1 17s 11d in perpetuity.
Mr Lodge: What if we refused to pay?
Manager: You are under a legal obligation, we hold the fair rights although we don’t avail of those. This doesn’t change our rights or obligations in any way.
Mr Lodge: This is a relic of other days when Cromwell’s henchmen purloined large tracts of rich land. They forced the people to pay these tolls.
Manager: This was probably an annual charge made by the Crown, giving people the right to hold fairs. There is no question of avoiding payment of the rent.
The town clerk said in cases where the rent had become overdue he had received “nasty letters” about it.
Mr Lodge: It would have been better to let them bring us to court.
Manager: This isn’t the only quit rent in the country.
The chairman said he pays a quit rent, but he does not know what it is for.
Mr Bannon: We are paying for something that is going to disappear. Fair or no fair, I count it unfair.
The manager said there used to be a special office on Ormond Quay, Dublin, to collect such quit rents.
He added: “If you could redeem the turnover tax on a 14 year purchase as we have done in this case you’d be doing all right.”