The Mayor of Limerick has defended the city council’s attempts to have an empty Dunnes Stores building registered as a vacant site.

James Collins was commenting after Dunnes Stores won a High Court order halting moves to place the building in Limerick city centre on an official register for vacant sites.

Dunnes Stores rejected a €3m offer for the site despite it being unused since 2008.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast Mr Collins said the site was vacant and boarded up for more than 10 years and the council wants to bring it back into use.

Mr Collins said: “I can’t understand why a large site has been left like this. We want to see it brought back into use – even by Dunnes Stores.”

He explained that the council had two options in terms of such sites – to register them as either derelict or vacant. Limerick City and County Council’s approach was to talk to the owner and to offer to purchase the site.

There are lots of companies who want to locate in Limerick who would use the site, he said. The council set up a development committee to facilitate such interests and would like to develop the site as a commercial space.

Mr Collins said that Dunnes Stores had not indicated they have any plans for the site.

The council’s only alternative “is to apply the law,” he said, which was why it wants to register the site as vacant in an effort to encourage the owners to bring the site back into use.

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