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Landlord offers free rent to boost town

Those who say there is no such thing as a free lunch may have to eat their words, thanks to the novel approach being taken by one innovative landlord.

A Co Roscommon businessman is offering a landmark building in his home town rent-free.

Gerard Kelly reckons too many shops have closed down in his native Boyle. Now in a bid to create employment, he's offering potential retailers a knock-down bargain of free rent for one year at his premises, the former Rockingham Arms pub.

Mr Kelly reckons there is nothing revolutionary about what he is doing and predicts it will be a growing trend.

"I have already seen free rent being advertised in other local towns," he said.

"My family has made a good living in Boyle over the years and I feel that if I could help get a business off the ground and maybe even create a few jobs it's better than having yet another shop closed up," he added.

After just over a week he has been far from inundated, with just three inquiries so far. "I am not disappointed and I think that people who say things are improving are living in cuckoo land," he stressed.

Should he find a tenant, he promises second-year rent will not be more than €100 a week.