Neighbouring derelict buildings in Tulla are preventing one business from expanding on their premises.
Veterinary clinic, Ceithre Cos is sandwiched between derelict buildings on the main street in Tulla. As the business increases it’s focus on small animals, owner Erica Borge told The Clare Echo that their plans to expand has been scuppered by the neighbouring buildings.
“If I could double my floor area tomorrow I would do it. It has to make business sense, I have to pay a reasonable rate for a building that I can then do up, you anticipate the problem is if the building is derelict the cost of renovation is so much higher, you end up getting caught. You also have to look at the potential resale of that building, there is no sense in ploughing massive money into that building unless it’s going to hold it’s value”.
She has lived in the East Clare village for the past twenty three years and admitted that the issue of vacant buildings though an unpleasant sight, is not a new one. “It’s always been the same. You watch buildings and wonder how long can they stay upright, they do last a hell of a long time. There is no imminent risk of buildings collapsing to the ground but at the same time, how long does it take”.
“Nobody seems to be unduly concerned, it only really came to my attention because I need a bit more space you’d always be conscious of it but unless it affects you, you don’t necessarily care. I think it does look bad, the question is do you just put a facelift on the front of the building and leave the back and insides the same or try have them useful. You wonder is it the doing up of the buildings, the fact there is no parking, why are these buildings not so attractive”.
Born in South Africa but originally from Ennis, Erica purchased the practice in 1999, in two decades she has observed some changes to hers and surrounding businesses. “The cattle side is rapidly declining, at one stage we had four vets mainly for large animals, now we have two and a half, I’m the half a vet and we have half a small animal vet, it’s awful to categorise people in halves and wholes. The small animal side is definitely increasing, the large animal side has decreased massively, I’ve never had as quite a spring as I did this year, last year there was very good silage and cattle were very healthy going through the winter, it is unbelievably quite even scarily so”.
“You wonder how many of the other businesses are reliant on agriculture to make a living, a lot hinges on the Mercer deal, on Brexit, the future of the single farm payment, the age profiles of farmers, what is going to happen if they eventually do retire, I suspect there will be a move toward dairying in the current climate, whether dairy farmers will simply rent land and cut silage on or whether they will graze young cattle on land I don’t know, there will be a move toward dairying if it continues to pay. There will always be animals grazing the land so long as there is grass. From our point of view, a lot of our calls would be beef cattle related, there is a definite decline in that”.
Despite some frustrations, Erica confirmed if the clocks were altered she would still set up Ceithre Cos in Tulla in 2019. “It’s a great location at the bottom of the hill, people can pull up with trailers and there is no difficulty turning or parking, we’re walking distance for people if they need to, it has worked extremely well considering it’s a small building, it’s cosy. Because it’s so small you’re trying to economise your space with small animals. We put in a digital x-ray and I had to clear out the hallway to try, fit it in, as it is we’re debating is it in the way but we’ve nowhere to put it even down to cage space, we need more cage space for cats & dogs”.