The number of empty commercial units across the country is rising.
A new survey by GeoDirectory has found that there are 28,000 vacant properties and the rate has risen to 13.3% between April and June of this year, an increase of 0.2% on the same period last year.
Eighteen counties saw an increase in the number of empty units in the last year, while just four saw a decrease.
CEO of GeoDirectory Dara Keogh says Sligo has the highest vacancy rate at 18.9%, followed by Leitrim (16.7%), Roscommon (16.3%), Mayo (16.3%) and Galway (16.2%).
Meath has the lowest vacancy rate at 10.1%, followed by Kerry (10.6%) Wexford (10.9%) and Westmeath (11.6%).
Mr Keogh said: “The latest GeoView Commercial Vacancy Rates Report shows that the east-west divide in commercial activity is widening and not closing. The five Connacht counties recorded vacancy rates considerably higher than the national average, with increases in every county except Galway.
"18 counties in Ireland recorded an increase in commercial vacancy rates, as economic activity is increasingly centred around the Greater Dublin Area.”
In Dublin, the average commercial vacancy rate was 12.1%, unchanged from the same period in 2018. However, vacancy rates fluctuate considerably depending on Dublin postcode.
The area with the lowest vacancy rate in the county was Dublin 16 at 6.9%, while Dublin 8 recorded the highest vacancy rate in the capital at 15.4%, well above the national average.
Edenderry, Co. Offaly is the town with the highest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 28.8%, an increase of 3.1% on the same time last year. Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (28%) and Kilrush, Co. Clare (26.5%) also posted high vacancy rates.
Greystones in Co. Wicklow recorded the lowest commercial vacancy rate in the country at 5.8%.
Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory said: “Our analysis shows that almost 50% of all commercial units in the country are located in Leinster, with just over 20% located in the provinces of Connacht and Ulster combined.
"This is worrying, considering that most of these counties have also recorded higher than average commercial vacancy rates. With a high proportion of counties on the west coast relying on the accommodation and food services sector, commercial activity in these counties could be vulnerable to the impact of Brexit, particularly as a result of currency volatility and reduced tourism.”