CEO Blog on "The Living City" Initiative

On Tuesday 5th May, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD launched “The Living City” initiative – link here: Minister for Finance Press Release . The Living City initiative is restricted to the centres of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway and Kilkenny with the aim “to bring life back into the heart of these cities by offering tax relief for qualifying expenditure incurred on the refurbishment or conversion of certain buildings where conditions are met.” The full details of the initiative are available on the Revenue Commissioner’s website here: Revenue E Brief
In its Q1 2015 Market Overview, CBRE give details of High Street vacancy rates at the end of Q1 2015 as follows:
1. Dublin: 3.2%
2. Cork: 19.5%
3. Limerick: 14%
4. Galway: 2.8%
5. Kilkenny: 7.7%
6. Sligo: 15%
The Living City initiative is to be welcomed, and in many cases it may well augment efforts and initiatives at a Local Authority level throughout the Country to revitalise the centres concerned. It is concerning however that at time of writing, Sligo Chamber is unaware of a similar exchequer facilitated or Local Authority facilitated initiative for Sligo.
There may well be a good reason for this that the Chamber is unaware of or indeed there may be plans in train to address this seemingly preferential treatment of certain City centres. If that is the case, clarity on these plans would be most welcome. If on the other hand, there are no plans in train, isn’t it entirely reasonable to assume, again, that Sligo is being overlooked at a national level, compounding successive governmental neglect over the past decades?