Councillors ‘alarmed’ at Carrick-on-Shannon shop closures

Leithrim council should conduct exit interviews with traders who shut, officials told

Jim Gartlan looks out the window of his shop, which closed on Friday. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Jim Gartlan looks out the window of his shop, which closed on Friday. Photograph: Brian Farrell

 

Leitrim County Council should conduct “exit interviews” with traders who have recently shut up shop in places like Carrick-on-Shannon , in a bid to determine the reasons so many businesses are closing, officials have been told.

Fine Gael councillor Finola Armstrong-McGuire, herself a town centre trader asked officials what was being done to address the closures of business which had been “serving communities for decades”.

Calling for action to ensure town centres survive as vibrant community spaces, Ms Armstrong -McGuire asked what had been done to help with the refurbishment of old derelict buildings .

She told officials that it would take “loose change” to paint the front of closed-up houses in the county’s streets and villages. “It is a scandal if it is not addressed”, she added.

A second motion before Monday’s meeting of the council referred to the closure of a number of businesses in Carrick-on-Shannon where seven shops have either recently closed down or are expected to in the coming months.

Councillor Enda Stanson said the number of closures in the town was “quite alarming”.

In response to suggestions that rates increases were a factor, officials reported that there had been a rates review last year and that 70 per cent of ratepayers had their bills reduced while 30 per cent received an increase.

Councillors were told that a number of initiative were in place in towns like Carrick on Shannon, Ballinamore and Mohil where town teams had been set up . Funding was also being sought for these centres under the Urban and Rural Regeneration Programmes recently announced by the Government.