An estimated 16 per cent of businesses in Waterford city centre are now lying idle, as a combination of dismal trading and crippling rates continues to take hold on local traders. The Wacky Apple in the Applemarket is the latest casualty: the landmark pub, which operated as The Olde Rogue for many years, shut its doors to the public earlier this month. In all, a startling 15,000 jobs have been shed since 2007 across the entire pub sector with an estimated 1,400 pubs not having renewed their licenses. And the Small Firms Association (SFA) estimates that the Irish retail sector has shed 15 per cent of its workforce in the last five years.