Rates break could trigger Galway retail revival

Problem...a vacant retail outlet in Tuam.

Galway County Council is leading an initiative so that the many vacant business premises in towns and villages can be occupied – they are proposing a ‘rates holiday’.

It is proposed that those who lease a vacant premises across the county will not have to pay rates for the first year of occupancy.

For the second year they will receive a 50% reduction in rates with a 25% reduction in the third year. After that, they are on their own.

Director of Services with Galway County Council, Catherine McConnell said that it was a business incentive scheme to encourage and support the use of vacant commercial premises in the principal towns.

A survey conducted by The Connacht Tribune last year found that there were around 40 business premises in and around Tuam town centre vacant while there were 35 in Ballinasloe.

These included pubs while there were a lot of clothes shops that were no longer in operation. Boarded up premises have become part and parcel of the fabric of rural Galway towns in recent years.

Ms McConnell says that the proposal recognises the difficult economic conditions facing businesses and particularly in the early years of being established. The Council is conscious of them seeking to establish a strong commercial base.

Cllr Donagh Killilea of Fianna Fail, who has been an advocate of a rates reduction for start-up businesses, said that it was a welcome move and one that would be voted upon at this month’s Council meeting.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.