Watson hopes it would revitalise the centre of Letterkenny and surrounding villages and further develop Letterkenny as a tourism hub.
Watson told Donegal Daily, “In December last year, the Minister confirmed his willingness to allow the scheme to include other towns which was initially intended only for Limerick and Waterford on a pilot basis.
“This obviously was a welcome move for these cities, but I believe that Letterkenny, Ramelton, Milford and Rathmullan specifically needs this designation and would help theses areas develop into leading tourism locations.
“It would also assist in tackling the issue of derelict buildings in specific locations in these areas which are doing local businesses no favours when they trying to make a positive impression on local and international visitors
Watson pointed to the 1990’s as a case study, saying there was a similar incentive scheme put in place for qualifying like Letterkenny.
It provided a double rent allowance for qualifying buildings in these areas under the 1997 Finance Act.
Clearly, the current scheme or an extension of it to our area would have clear parallels but also benefits for Letterkenny and the surrounding villages and there would be a knock-on impact in terms of increased economic activity and jobs in these areas.
Watson added, “I believe everyone in these areas are concerned about the legacy issue of derelict buildings and its impact on our towns and villages as tourism locations not to mention for local residents in these areas.
“We are rightly proud of our towns and the beauty of the county, however, there needs to be some relief for those businesses which suffered badly as a result of the economic downturn.
Watson concluded, “I have already made contact with our Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD but I would be hopeful that the local Government T.Ds will take this suggestion back to the Minister for Finance and ensure its introduction in the coming months for this area.