The number of vacant commercial buildings now stands at 11 per cent, according to new figures published today, however Sligo is one of the counties ahead of the national average.
The Irish Times
reports that a total of 23,834 commercial units were recorded as vacant by GeoDirectory at the end of June, out of a total number of 226,622 nationally.
The highest number of commercial units was recorded in Dublin where 48,760 premises were recorded. The capital also has the largest number of vacant units with 5,851 currently not being used, equivalent to a 12 per cent vacancy rate for the city.
A total of 8 counties - Sligo, Carlow, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Roscommon - recorded commercial vacancy rates above the national average of 11 per cent.
Of these, Sligo and Leitrim both recorded the highest commercial vacancy rate of 14 per cent, with 517 vacant units identified in Sligo out of a total of 3,648 premises. Figures for Leitrim show that 268 units were vacant from an overall total of 1,929 premises.SligoToday.ie
notes that the most obvious vacant sites are at Cleveragh Business Park and Sligo Retail Park at Carraroe.
These two high-profile sites had achieved 100 per cent occupancy but had lost the majority of their tenants over recent years to to the economic climate and coupled with the decision under the county development plan, not to allow food or clothes retailers trade on the sites.
Sligo Chamber of Commerce have recently questioned the 'change of use' at the Homecare and More store to An Bord Pleanala. See SligoToday.ie 22/3/12
It is understood that retail giants Tesco, Dunnes Stores wished to develop new stores in the vicinity of the Carraroe complex. Argos were also contemplating a move to Carraroe and Smiths Toys recently left Cleveragh for Carraroe.
Earlier this year Bank of Ireland seized control of the 250,000 sq ft Sligo Retail Park. See SligoToday.ie 12/3/12
Shoppers have complained that the new Aldi Supermarket is confined to a cramped site with insufficient parking in Cranmore and question why the discount retailer were not allowed to build in a better and bigger location.
Galway had the largest number of commercial premises vacant for a city at 818, 13 per cent of total stock.
The new data shows that Kerry recorded the lowest commercial rate in the country with 602 or 7 per cent of units identified as vacant.
Geodirectory chief executive Dara Keogh said the latest figures show that around nine out of every 10 commerical premises across the country are currently occupied.
"This positive trend is supported by the 14 counties which are below the national vacancy rate of 11 per cent," he said.
GeoDirectory, which is a subsidiary of An Post, compiles its figures with Ordnance Survey Ireland.