Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and Junior Spokesperson on Cross Border Co-operation, Declan Breathnach has expressed concern for local economies along the border as a result of the high volume of people travelling across the border to shop.
Deputy Breathnach was speaking as new figures from the CSO show that fourteen percent of Irish households travelled to Northern Ireland in 2017 to shop and spent a total of €458 million.
“This represents a €458 million loss to Irish retailers and I think this is very regrettable. The figures show that in particular, nearly half of people living in the border region went to Northern Ireland to shop, with households in the area having an average of 16 cross-border shopping trips a year.
“While I understand people wanting to cross the border to take advantage of the cheaper rate of sterling, I believe there needs to be a greater focus put on the ramifications and that people must be aware that retailers along the border are adversely affected.
“We know that alcohol is the biggest attraction for shoppers looking for a cross-border bargain, and I strongly believe we need an all-island approach to clamping down on the easy availability of cheap alcohol.
“Retailers in towns all along the border are trying desperately hard to fight back against this outflow of shoppers. In Dundalk for example, the Chamber of Commerce have a shop local gift voucher initiative which has already seen a huge success in stopping the flow of money from the town. Brexit is coming and what we have seen from the contingency plans is that it’s going to create a very difficult economic environment. We must pull out all the stops to help local economies along the border”, concluded Deputy Breathnach.