Independent Euro election candidate Senator Rónán Mullen has hit out at landlords of derelict premises saying they were undermining the efforts of towns to recover from the recession. Senator Mullen was speaking during a visit to the towns of Tullamore, Birr and Edenderry on Thursday. He also criticised high car-parking fees saying they were a deterrent to people coming to town to do business.
“It is heartbreaking to see how many shops and businesses have closed on the main streets of Offaly’s towns and villages. What is equally frustrating is the lack of any policy, either within central government, or among local authorities to tackle this social and economic catastrophe. Government must become more proactive in exploring incentives for landlords to ensure retail units are not left vacant and buildings left to go to rack and ruin.”
“Perhaps it is even time to “name and shame” landlords of buildings that blight the mains streets of towns and villages across the country. It’s appalling that it often falls on the shoulders of Tidy Towns volunteers to clean up the facades of derelict buildings in provincial towns.”
“This is a nationwide problem. Banks who own empty property in towns across Ireland should either manage these buildings properly, or be required to sell them. Receivers should be compelled to dispose of property in the public interest. And local authorities should be more proactive in encouraging redevelopment of the nation’s main streets.”
Senator Mullen said that many voters in Offaly had also raised the issue of high car-parking charges in towns across the county.
“Car-parking charges are a huge problem in provincial towns, and it is my view that car-parking fees should not be levied to the extent that they discourage people from travelling into towns to support main street shops and businesses.”
“There must be some incentive for people to shop on the main street, as opposed to shopping at out-of-town developments, where parking is plentiful and free”
“Now is the time to tackle the problems of the main streets of our towns and villages, before it’s too late”, Senator Mullen concluded.