Galway County Council have been urged to consider a ‘rates holiday’ for those wishing to rent or purchase some of the 50 vacant business premises in Tuam.
The number of empty business premises in and around the town centre in Tuam has been remarked upon by many visitors to Tuam in recent months. It is highlighted by the fact that there are large blue signs outside two of the most prominent business premises in The Square.
It has been suggested that some of these premises could have potential use if Galway County Council came up with an initiative that did not involve the imposition of commercial rates for a lengthy period of time.
Cllr Donagh Killilea said that energetic new business people were not encouraged to occupy some of these premises because of the overheads involved. These include expensive commercial rates.
Last year there was a shocking revelation in Tuam that almost 50 business premises in the town have either shut down or are empty. The situation has gotten worse in the meantime.
Tuam is the biggest town in the county and yet there are dozens of boarded up shops and pubs in the town centre which is a major concern for the existing town centre businesses. The reduction in footfall is having a financial impact for them.
There is no chamber of commerce anymore and some of the most successful entertainment events have been called off for the coming year. These include the Sugar Beat festival and the Tuam Trad Festival.
A survey conducted by The Connacht Tribune last year revealed that there were almost 50 empty retail premises in and around the town centre in Tuam.
At the time, the now-defunct Tuam Chamber of Commerce said that it was high time for every organisation in the town to come together to address this situation and put life back into the town centre.
Cllr Killilea has put a proposal to Galway County Council asking that there no rates would apply for a year in relation to business premises that are closed for twelve months or more.
New President for Local Ireland
The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.
Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.
Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”
Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.
He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.
Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.
Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.
Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region
The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.
At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.
Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.
“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.
“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.
Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:
- Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
- Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
- Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
- Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
- Investment in people and skills
- Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
- Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth
Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless
One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.
In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.
Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.
Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.
Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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