Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has said the closure of Mace in Ballyshannon is further evidence of the serious threat facing local retailers and small business.
According to Senator Mac Sharry, Main Streets in towns and villages across the North West region are under threat as retailers grapple with unacceptably high operating costs in an extremely difficult business climate.
“The closure of Mace has come as a major shock not just to the staff and their families, but to the entire community of Ballyshannon. The store has had an extremely loyal staff and customer base over the years and people feel that its closure is the loss of yet another local community service,” Senator Mac Sharry said.
“While this particular case is high profile, involving 30 job losses, unfortunately the closure of local small businesses is all too common. The pressures on local retailers are such that the very concept of a ‘Main Street’ as we know it is under threat. Commercial rents and rates are crippling local businesses and the banks simply are not playing ball when it comes to supporting viable SMEs.
“This Government, and Fine Gael in particular, has totally abandoned its promise to tackle commercial rents and support the retail sector. Urgent intervention is needed before more local retailers are forced to close their doors. The Government needs to use its teeth, as a major shareholder in the country’s two largest banks, to free up lending to viable SMEs. They also need to take action to ease rental costs which are strangling so many retailers in towns across the North West.
“Communities in this region are genuinely concerned about what seems to be the continued removal of their local services. Rather than foster the growth of communities and protecting local services, the Government is actually removing garda stations, threatening the future of small local schools, closing community hospital beds and standing by as local businesses are forced to close.
“This approach is extremely damaging both socially and economically, and it needs to stop,” Senator Mac Sharry said.