13.0% of commercial address points in Donegal are vacant. A quarterly report from GeoView found that the commercial vacancy rates in the biggest towns in Donegal are Ballybofey (28.2%), Letterkenny (20.2%), Buncrana (15.9%), Donegal Town (12.5%) and Bundoran (9.9%).

Fianna Fáil local election candidate Claudia Kennedy has stated that more needs to be done, particularly in the Finn Valley area, in order to allow start up business to survive and maintain a thriving business with support from County Council.

She stated: “This will be a key priority for me personally if I am elected at County Council level. We need to create an environment of support with tangible programmes in place to encourage business entrepreneurs to set up their businesses here in the Finn Valley.”

Kennedy believes that improved fuding rescources, ICT and broadband improvements, a reduction in commercial rates for businesses, a reduction in Water Charges for businesses, an employment incentivised scheme, and training and reskilling opportunities are all key to achieving better business in the area.

“I would favour the County Council facilitating entrepreneur workshops, information evenings, a leadership team, a mentor programme and a networking programme, all creating links to the Ballybofey – Stranorlar chamber of commerce, including other business programmes and organisations locally and nationally,” she said.

While Ms. Kennedy has welcomed the construction of the Finn Valley New Community Enterprise and Resource Hub she feels that more attention is needed to be given to Main Street and its vacant units: “I look forward to working with the staff of the New Enterprise Centre in the future. This is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done,” she concluded.

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