Towns around the country are suffering "a perfect storm" that has decimated regional main streets, according to a major report by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland.
The report highlights the negative effects of increased online sales, poor broadband, and Dublin-centric- development.
The report shows how increased costs, the legacy of out-of-town shopping centres, the dissolution of town councils and high vacancy rates are all contributing to a "perfect storm" with unemployment increasing in many small towns, particularly in the north-west.
It looked at populations of between 1,500 and 10,000 in 200 towns across Ireland and published today's findings to coincide with its National Conference taking place today in Kilkenny.
The report says restrictions on out-of-town shopping centres and the provision of high-speed broadband are just two measures that need to be implemented urgently if the decline of the main streets in our small towns is to be reversed.
It also calls for an Irish Towns Partnership - to help fill the void left by the dissolution of town councils and points to case studies from Westport, Clonakilty and Naas to show how communities can lead rejuvenation.
- Digital Desk