Smaller shops suffer while retail giants prosper

 

Sir, – As the owner of Ireland’s oldest drapery store, established in 1806 , I ask the question of the powers that be why one of Ireland’s largest food stores, with outlets all over the country, is allowed to sell their clothing ranges and all us independent retailers are forbidden.

If this continues, I will be forced into opening my shop, as this is clearly unfair, and I am sure many others will follow.It is time for the powers that be to act in support of us law-abiding retailers. – Yours, etc,

LONAN BURKE,

P Bourke and Co Ltd,

Carrick on Suir,

Co Tipperary.

Sir, – Throughout the spring, petrol stations were doing a roaring trade in plants and compost while garden centres remained closed.

Discount shops remained open because they sell food and cleaning products but, alongside these limited offerings, they were also allowed sell all their usual tat.

Large supermarkets chains had clothing departments open while all other clothes shops were closed.

Pharmacies were well stocked with children’s toys and art supplies while toy shops remained closed.

Now we are almost unique in Europe in again closing down so-called non-essential retail and forcing more than 100,000 low-paid workers to go back on the pandemic unemployment payment.

This has happened despite these workers doing absolutely everything in their power to ensure we can shop safely.

Meanwhile, neither Nphet nor the Government have presented any data on retailed-acquired infections to justify this decision.

Retail Excellence Ireland recently published results of their own survey of infection rates among retail staff working in shops. It showed that these workers actually have lower rates of infection than the general population, despite them spending protracted periods in a retail environment.

So logic would indicate that the masked and sanitised customers, who spend much less time in shops, will not be at significant risk.

A very significant proportion of the money not spent in our shops during this six-week period will leave the country via Amazon and other online retailers. This will make the richest man in world and his ilk even richer, while our economy and our people suffer more unnecessary, and potentially irreversible, pain.

This lockdown will make our shops even busier than normal in December in the run-up to Christmas. This decision makes no sense whatsoever, on any level, and should be reversed immediately. – Yours, etc,

HELEN GALLAGHER,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.