News & Events

Retailers, industry groups and Government consider how best to support retail in Town Centres – Minister Nash

The Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD has brought together retailers, industry, local authority and government representatives to discuss how best to revitalise retail in town centres.

Retail was one of the industries hardest hit during the recession with more than 40,000 jobs lost and shops closing in many towns and villages across the country. However, it remains a significant employer with 15% of the population or approximately 270,000 people working in retail.

At a special meeting of the Retail Consultation Forum held in Drogheda today (Monday), Minister Nash led a discussion to examine ways to support retailers to grow and maintain jobs. As well as the 30 members of the Retail Consultation Forum which brings together industry and government to identify practical actions to support the retail sector, representatives from Louth County Council, Drogheda Chamber of Commerce and local retailers were in attendance.

They shared examples of how they have supported businesses in the town throughout the recession and examined how to maximise opportunities as consumer confidence begins to grow again.

Minister Nash said, “As the economic recovery takes hold, we are beginning to see that impact in the retail sector too. While the retail recovery is modest to date, it is certainly going in the right direction and this is an opportune time to examine how all of us – individuals, businesses, community as well as local and national Government - can make a difference in supporting our local shops and retailers.”

“I was particularly keen to hold this special meeting in Drogheda as there are some great examples here of initiatives taken during the recession to support towns. Drogheda was the first town to adopt the “Local Heroes” project, championed by Senator Feargal Quinn, in 2011 which encouraged local towns to work together to overcome the difficulties the recession brought.”

“I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned from this and other initiatives, which we can now apply to the retail sector in a growing economy, rather than one in the depths of crisis.”

Senator Feargal Quinn also addressed the meeting, sharing details of a recent Joint Oireachtas report “Policy options to Support Business Growth and Job Creation in Town and Village Centres”. Senator Quinn also shared his own experiences of helping champion the Local Heroes project in Drogheda

The meeting took place in the Westcourt Hotel in Drogheda. The Retail sector accounts for approximately 10% of GDP or approximately €16 billion.

ENDS

For more information contact:

DJEI Press Office on 01 631 2200 or press.office@djei.ie

Note for Editors:

The Retail Consultation Forum was established in June 2014 as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs to provide a structured on-going engagement between Government and the Retail sector and to identify practical actions which could be taken by Government or by industry itself, to support the recovery of the sector. The Forum is chaired by the Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD. This was the first time any Government provided an on-going Forum such as this to bring together retail practitioners and Government Departments on a regular basis

Membership of the Retail Consultation Forum includes representative bodies and practising retailers from across the retail sector, as well as a number of Government Departments and Bodies whose policies impact on the sector.

The Forum meets at least four times each year to consider issues of relevance to the Retail sector on a thematic basis. Actions identified through the Forum feed into the annual Action Plan for Jobs and/or the Budgetary process.

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