State company inherits 200 empty buildings
More than half properties owned by newly created Shannon Group are vacant
The new State company is working on a strategy to revive its portfolio, beginning with upgrading buildings in the Shannon Free Zone. Photograph Arthur Ellis/Press22.
More than 200 commercial properties owned by the Republic’s newest State company are empty, the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts heard yesterday.
Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Seamus McCarthy told the committee State agency Shannon Development owned industrial land and property worth €52 million at the beginning of this year.
The agency merged with Shannon Group plc, the State company created last month, which inherited the 400-plus commercial buildings and 2,000 acres of land the development body owned across six counties.
Ray O’Driscoll, managing director of the group’s property division, revealed that 57 per cent of those properties are empty. He told the committee
the number of vacant buildings on its books exceeded 200. He said in terms of square feet more than half its property is empty.
The portfolio is spread across Clare, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary, Offaly and Galway. Mr O’Driscoll said much of it had been built to fulfil the agency’s development mandate rather than to deliver a commercial return.
“Many [of the properties] were built in locations where you might not build for commercial purposes,” he said.
The new State company is working on a strategy to revive its portfolio, beginning with upgrading buildings in the Shannon Free Zone.