Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate in Clare, Rita McInerney has urged local people to shop local, where possible, and support businesses that employ your friends and neighbours.

“Clare has a variety of top class independent retailers, and I think it is right that, where possible, we support them in the lead in to Christmas especially, but all year round.

“By buying locally, we support jobs in our communities. By supporting your local shops and producers, you are helping to keep money in the local economy.

“As a former CEO of Ennis Chamber of Commerce, I’m acutely aware of the challenges independent retailers face. This Christmas, we need to think about how our purchasing habits can affect local businesses.

“Of course, it’s possible to make savings by purchasing online, but you have to ask the question, who’s really benefiting – a faceless corporation in the US or China? There’s no benefit to your local village or town.

“We also need to support our independent retailers to sell globally online. While a number of schemes are available, such as the Trading Online Voucher Scheme through Local Enterprise Offices, it seems uptake is quite low.

“It’s clear to me that maximum grant of €2,500 does not match the cost associated with creating the type of e-commerce websites needed in this day and age. The Government must look at increasing the financial support the independent retailers need to go online properly. The objective must be to allow them compete with larger companies and those overseas. This will allow them retain local trade and expand their markets.

“If we all make a conscious effort to spend even an extra 10% locally, we will be supporting vital and often hard to come by jobs in rural parts of the county.

“The national economy may be recovering but local traders and enterprises still rely on our custom and this Christmas period is an ideal time to extend support,” concluded McInerney.