‘People can’t get planning permission on their own land…this is very unfair’
Pat, how long are you in the auctioneering business?
This year we are celebrating 25 years in business. The company was originally set up in 1924 by Patrick Hughes & Patrick Naughton, Ballygar. In the mid-1940’s Hughes & Company took over the office from William Black, Roscommon and opened an office in Roscommon town under the management of the late Jimmy Finn.
In 1947 the late Sean Naughton, Mount Talbot, took over the running of the company. In 1951 Hughes & Co. acquired the auctioneering business from Frank Maguire Auctioneers. On 19th of November 1993 I took over the company and opened our new offices at Abbey Street, Roscommon where we are today.
How much and in what ways has the business changed or evolved over the years?
There has been ups and downs. Property seemed to go in 7 to 10 year cycles over the years but from 1994 it seemed to be on an upward trend until the crash in 2008. We are now seeing an increase again but on a much slower scale in the west. Dublin appears to be back where it was but it hasn’t passed the M50 as of yet!
How do you see the future for Roscommon town and county?
Demand for property seems to be increasing over the last number of months. Already this year there seems to be more of a buzz. Houses are scarce in Roscommon as there is very little building going on at present. You can still buy a house cheaper than you can build and while this trend continues builders will not build. It is impossible for people to get planning permission on their own lands in rural areas. This to me is very unfair and needs to be looked at.
Are there any steps you feel Government/local authorities could take to help your industry?
I feel the Government should bring in a tax incentive for people with old and derelict houses to encourage them to do them up. The number of vacant and abandoned houses throughout the county is frightening. I think if there was an incentive for any money spent on these buildings – leaving them habitable – that could be written off against tax on a rental income, it would encourage these owners to do up these dwellings and would certainly reduce this homeless situation that we have at the moment.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
The buzz of meeting people, doing deals and seeing progress in our town and county.
What is the outlook for 2018?
I would be very hopeful that things will continue to improve and that banks will start to lend to young people who need to get on the property ladder.
Your farm machinery auctions are renowned! Will there be more this year? Any other auctions or big sales we need to keep an eye out for?
There are a lot on enquiries again this year about our Machinery Auction. We are hoping to hold it in May.
In August/September of this year we will be bringing one of the finest farms to come on the market in recent years to market. This is a 130-acre residential farm in Curraghboy village. All of the lands are of top quality. I expect this to draw huge interest due to its location and the quality of the land.
At this stage we expect to have a number of other farms on the market in the coming months. Further details to follow in the near future.
Interview: Paul Healy