Limerick TD Niall Collins says government action is ‘needed on retail’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Cruises Street has become something of a poster-child for retail struggles

Cruises Street has become something of a poster-child for retail struggles

LIMERICK Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins says government must act to help the city centre get back on its feet.

It comes after statistics recently released from GeoView reveal the main commercial centre has the highest vacancy rate in all of Munster – 15.2%, as against a national average of 13.2%.

“This new report shows that towns in Limerick are still struggling to get back on their feet. The national vacancy rate for commercial buildings is 13.2% but this report highlights the fact that in Abbeyfeale the rate is 16.5%, in Limerick city itself it’s 17.3% and in Newcastle West more than 21% of commercial properties are vacant – all well above the national average,” he said.

“The figures show that while there may be some economic growth centred in large urban areas, our towns and villages are continuing to struggle. The government needs to come forward with comprehensive proposals to encourage new businesses to setup in our towns and villages in Limerick.”

Mr Collins said Irish towns and cities outside Dublin now face “fundamental challenges” to their future viability.

“High vacancy rates, expanding out of town shopping centres, changing shopping habits and crippling commercial rates and rents are damaging businesses and destroying jobs. Fianna Fáil believes we need a multi-faceted approach across enterprise, urban planning, culture, justice and community engagement to tackle the problem that Irish towns are facing,” he said.

“We believe in the future of Irish towns and the positive role they can play in bringing about balanced, sustainable job creation and investment. We recognise the necessity of sustainable regional development. A key emphasis needs to be placed on attracting people into town centres so that shops and businesses have the footfall they need to continue operating.”

Cruises Street has seen two shop closures this year already, a move which has seen retail guru David Fitzsimons take the matter in hand.