Brown Thomas car park

 

Sir, – I take issue with David McWilliams’s opinion piece (“Brown Thomas has a car park problem”, Weekend, July 17th) on the issue of the BT car park in Dublin 2.

As a business owner in the area, I believe that he is seriously out of touch with the reality of the situation. Whilst pedestrianisation has been an enormous asset to the hospitality sector in Dublin 2, the same cannot be said for retail.

Of course it’s wonderful to see people dining outdoors, but for dozens of us small independent traders, the loss of car-borne shoppers has a huge impact. David McWilliams is unaware of the fact that the vast majority of serious shoppers do not travel by bicycle or foot. And at a time when capacity on public transport is still restricted, it is no wonder that shoppers are flocking to suburban shopping centres.

His vision of the BT car park being turned into an artisan craft centre to be accessed by those on foot demonstrates his lack of business insight. As someone who stocks all Irish craft and design, I know that the majority of my customers travel by car.

Dublin city belongs to everyone, not just the “woke” contingent that is now discriminating against those who need access to the city by car. Elderly people, young families, disabled people, people who are too nervous to take public transport, people who want to do some serious shopping without having to haul it home by bus. There should be access for all, regardless of the mode of transport.

The many small and unique independent shops in Dublin 2 give this area its charm and interest for visitors. Without us, what are you left with? Another Temple Bar?

As a member of a group of 70-plus business owners in the area, I would like to invite David McWilliams to come and talk to us to hear our side of the story. – Yours, etc,

MARY WHELAN,

Eirlooms,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – International studies show that business owners frequently overestimate the proportion of their customers who arrive by car (perhaps because they themselves drive). If unimpeded car access is so vital to Mary Costelloe’s boutique (Letters, July 20th) maybe she would consider relocating to a retail park adjacent to the M50. Or she might reflect that people visit the city centre for reasons other than parking. Full pedestrianisation of South William Street, by making the city centre a more pleasant place to spend time and money in, is likely to increase, not reduce, the footfall to her shop. – Yours, etc,

ERIC DOWNEY,

Terenure,

Dublin 6W.