Lack of money leads to blackout for town

 

Dun Laoghaire's main street will remain without Christmas lights this year because enough money could not be raised from the town's businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce confirmed last night that the lights were put up earlier this month, but the electrical contractors took them down last week as the chamber didn't have the money to pay them.

The responsibility of raising funds for the Christmas lights is taken every year by the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Chamber of Commerce, with the help of the Dun Laoghaire Business Association.

The president of the chamber, Mr David Plunkett, said: "I regret that the lights are not there this year. They were costing £16,000, and we went out to all the traders. About a week ago we had £3,600 collected. The electrical contractor was right to take them down, because he wasn't going to get paid."

Mr Plunkett said the cost was not higher than last year, when businesses contributed enough money to pay for lights.

He said local traders could not afford to pay this year. "There have been nine months of work on that main street and it has been closed for a lot of that time."

A Dun Laoghaire business-owner, Mr Brian S. Nolan, who runs a fabric and curtain retailer's on the main street, said when he was approached for a contribution no specific amount was requested, and his business sent a cheque for £100.

"I received a letter the day after the lights came down to say the money would be refunded in due course, that insufficient funds had been raised."

Mr Nolan said: "Of course, I was disappointed to see the lights had come down. Other years when we did have lights demonstrate that people want the lights, and businesses have paid for them."