Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne has called for a taskforce to be established with the aim of revitalising Enniscorthy town centre.

Deputy Browne made the comments after it was confirmed that a number of business premises in Enniscorthy are due to close over the coming months.

Deputy Browne said, “Enniscorthy town centre has been struggling in recent years due to the difficult economic environment. A number of shops have been forced to close which has led to an increase in vacant premises within the town centre. This has led to a downward spiral as fewer people are visiting the town centre which is making it more difficult for the remaining businesses to stay afloat.

“The situation has worsened in recent weeks after it was revealed that a number of business owners are considering winding down their operations over the coming months. This will place further difficulties on the remaining businesses as it’s likely that the number of customers entering the town will decline. Figures which I recently obtained show that Enniscorthy already has a vacancy rate of 15.7%, which is well above the national average. This figure is likely to increase if definitive action is not taken to arrest the decline of the town centre.

“It’s clear that Enniscorthy town centre is facing an enormous challenge in the months ahead. We need to see the setting up of a taskforce which brings together business owners, the local authority, the chamber of commerce and other representative groups with the aim of putting in place a plan to revitalise the town centre. The fundamental aim of this plan should be to attract new businesses and shoppers into the town to help grow local enterprise.

“Similar taskforces have been established in other towns down through the years which were experiencing difficulties. For example, Westport setup a special taskforce when its town centre was hit with a deluge of local business closures in a short period of time. This taskforce examined what actions needed to be taken to attract new shoppers into the town and reduce the number of vacant units in the area. The taskforce was highly successful and laid the basis for the recovery of the town.

“Enniscorthy town centre is undoubtedly going through difficulties at the moment, but the best days for the town are ahead so long as we take action now to encourage and grow local enterprise.”