272. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if social protection branch offices that are used exclusively for social protection business are exempt from rates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2823/16]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can inform the Deputy that 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. The Statute does not accord me, as Minister, any function in this regard.
I understand that the Valuation Acts 2001-2015 provide in Schedule 4, paragraph 12a that property, being a building or part of a building, land or a waterway or a harbour directly occupied by any Department or Office of State is property that is not rateable. Accordingly, Social Protection branch offices occupied directly by the Department of Social Protection are exempt from rates.