There are calls for action from both local and national government, in order to help business in Clare.
New figures from GEO Directory show 14.7% of the county’s businesses were empty at the end of 2017, a marginal drop the same period in 2016.
But it’s claimed these figures don’t paint an accurate picture of the local economy here.
Over three quarters of Clare’s vacant commercial properties have been left idle for more than three years, once of the highest rates in the country.
Shannon has the highest vacancy rate in the county where a quarter of commercial properties are empty, followed by Kilrush on 24.7% and Ennis on 17.4%.
The CEO of Geo Directory, which carried out the report, says areas in the county where businesses were lost don’t appear to gaining them back.
But Dara Keogh says there are positives that can be taken from the figures.
Kilrush Independent Councillor Ian Lynch says the figures don’t paint an accurate picture of the town, as many of the properties classified as commercial are connected to family homes, and may never again be used for business purposes.
He insists that more needs to be done at local level to deal with stringent planning rules.
Ennis Fianna Fáil Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy agrees that planning is one area where change can be achieved at a local level but says that often the local authority’s hands are tied when it comes to other issues affecting businesses.
Councillor Molloy believes the way in which commercial rates are applied is out-dated, and feels this needs to be prioritised at a national level.