Longford Westmeath TD Robert Troy has expressed his huge disappointment at the announcement that Harvey Norman will close its store in Mullingar.
Deputy Troy commented: “It was with huge regret that I heard of the impending closure of the Harvey Norman in Mullingar. This is yet another blow to Westmeath which has experienced job losses and business closures over the past number of years.
“While it is hoped to redeploy the 45 employees at the store, the loss will be felt by the town of Mullingar. Much needed finance and consumer spend will be lost to the town as the retailer expands its operation in Dublin.
“This news is very disappointing and it just goes to show the difficulties so many businesses are facing at the moment with high rents and rising production costs. The Government needs to take immediate action to halt the rising number of businesses across Westmeath closing. The reneging of the promise to tackle the problem of upward only rent reviews has contributed to the problems many businesses face.
“The Government’s failure to amend legislation and change the valuation act to deal with crippling commercial rates is another huge problem for businesses. Our IDA park remains empty and while the IDA fails to promote Westmeath with potential investors.
“Mullingar has lost Columb Barracks in the past few months and the promised decentralisation to Mullingar, which hundreds had signed up to will also not go ahead.
“Harvey Norman says Lakepoint Retail Park has underperformed and is no longer viable for several reasons including high rents, prolonged vacancies in the retail park, and migration of shopping back to Dublin. We need to be proactive in our response and Mullingar must again be promoted as an excellent town in which to do business without the hassle of shopping in the capital.
“I am calling on the Minister for Enterprise to step in and make a concerted effort to promote Mullingar as a town to invest in.”