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EMPTY SHOPS ARE SIGN OF BAD TIMES

A SHOPPING Centre left with empty units for the last eight years is among the concerns of locals in Shankill village in the heart of south Dublin.

Located in one of the most prosperous parts of the county, Killiney/Shankill ward boasts singers Bono and Enya among its residents.

Hilary Salmon (inset far right) who works in the local florist believes more attention needs to be paid to re-establishing the shopping centre on the outskirts of Shankill village and says she'll be raising the issue with candidates.

"They need to get all of the empty units in the area up and running again and try to lower rates to sustain businesses. There should be a lot more support," said Hilary.

"We have a whole shopping centre down there empty since 2008, there's two units open in it and the rest of it is gone. That was the centre of the village at one stage."

Fellow business owner Paul Costello of Doyle's Butchers, highlighted a lack of variety of uses for retail units within the village. "We've got an abundance of hairdressers and two bookies on one little row. There are no clothes shops, kiddies shops or anything that would attract people to come into the area to shop and the rents are also extremely high."

Parking is also a major concern for Mr Costello.

"We have some parking out here in front, but people are leaving their cars outside and going off for the day," he said.

"There are no yellow lines and no parking meters. So people are passing by because there's no parking, so we're losing trade all of the time, so that would be a burning issue for me."

For Graham Wilkie (inset left), owner of a small hardware shop called Gremma Home Solutions, the costs of being in business before he even opens the doors each morning are prohibiting growth.

"The rates and rent kill me," Graham said. "I'm paying about €7,500 a year and for that you used to get your water, your bins, things like that but now you get none of that. You have to pay for your water and your bins on top of the rates. It's a lot of money."

POSITIVE

Graham said the rates business owners are currently paying are based on boom time figures, making it difficult for businesses to keep trading, despite a slight pick-up.

"The rates went from €3,500 to €7,500 just like that, based on 2005 figures which was at the height of the boom time," he added.

"But business is picking up I think, it's a bit more positive especially when the weather is good, people have a smile on their faces and they're coming out and spending money," he added.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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