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New Report on Commercial Vacancy Rates highlights Government's failures in rural Ireland– Carol Nolan TD

24 August, 2017

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Community and Rural Development Carol Nolan TD has said that the high rates of commercial unit vacancy across rural counties shows that the Government has failed to deliver for rural Ireland.

Commenting on the report published today by GeoDirectory, Teachta Nolan said:
“Despite all the talk of economic recovery, the rate of commercial vacancy across the State rose between 2016 and 2017, with 28,784 premises across the state recorded as vacant.
“The report by GeoDirectory also shows that the rural counties of Sligo, Leitrim, Galway and Mayo are among the five counties with the highest rates of commercial vacancies.
“I am also saddened to see that, in my own constituency, Edenderry has the second highest rate of commercial vacancies among towns across the state at 27%, while Tullamore and Birr showed a commercial vacancy rate of 16% and 14.4% respectively.
“It is telling that while the report shows a decrease in commercial vacancies in Dublin, vacancy rates in Connacht have increased to 15.8%; the highest average vacancy rate among the provinces.
“This report clearly shows that, despite spin to the contrary, this Government has failed to deliver for rural Ireland.
“The Rural Development Plan, launched last year to much fanfare, has had little impact on the reality facing rural communities.
“The plan does not contain any practical proposals to encourage commercial use of the premises through the ending of upward only rent reviews for instance and no action has been taken to ensure fairness for small businesses in relation to commercial rates.
“Furthermore, proposals aimed at utilising vacant commercial premises for much needed residential use have not been progressed.
“In our 'New Deal for the West' Document, Sinn Féin put forward proposals including an end to upward only rent reviews; a scheme to encourage people to live in or above commercial premises and potential reform of the rates structure to take account of profitability and to provide incentives for those opening new businesses within town centres.
“This is the type of action that the Government must take immediately in order to protect the rural economy and secure the future prosperity of rural communities.”

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