NEWS RELEASE: RGDATA ADDRESSES FIANNA FAIL ARD FHEIS 2013: SUPPORT INDEPENDENT IRISH SHOPS
Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA, the representative association for over 4,000 independent family grocers, addressed the 2013 Fianna Fail Ard Fheis and urged the party to "Go back to its roots and support small Irish family owned shops and businesses".
"Independent family owned shops have created 90,000 jobs all over Ireland. Since 2011, over 1,000 new jobs have been created in just 230 of our members' shops. Independent retailers have demonstrated resilience in recent years and have rolled up their sleeves to in ensure their businesses survive and thrive."
Fianna Fail should support strategic planning policies that revitalize town centres, Buckley told the Ard Fheis session on Enterprise & Job Creation. "Jobs in local shops are vital to local communities all over the country. RGDATA members give young people their first job. Shopkeepers are feeling very unloved by policymakers – you need to get back to your roots and support policies that assist town centre regeneration and the vibrancy and vitality of Irish family owned shops and local towns and villages."
Delegates cheered Buckley when she said that Fianna Fail had rolled out the red carpet for the big global multiples and that all this meant was that their profits were exported out of Ireland and back to Britain and Germany. "High car parking charges are destroying town centres and driving customers to out of town centres with free car parking. Meanwhile town centre businesses are crippled by high commercial rates and costly red tape," Buckley said.
Buckley said the party needed to tackle the banks who were crippling family owned shops with huge increases in fees for lodging cash. "Many shops are struggling for survival. If the patient is lying on the operating table bleeding you stop the blood – you don't let someone stab them again." Buckley urged.
"The government needs to understand that there is no fat left to cut in retail businesses. If Fianna Fail genuinely wants to support Irish family businesses and local jobs then it must use its powers to stop banks from forging ahead with increases in charges of this magnitude," said Buckley.
Speaking after the RGDATA presentation, Fianna Fail spokesman on Enterprise & Jobs Dara Calleary TD said "Tara has urged us to get back to our roots. She highlighted some of the current banking conditions that will force many out of business. These new charges are an attack on job creators. Banks need to realise that retailers are not ATM machines who they can take money from when they want it. Banks need to remember who their customers are and frankly who paid to bail them out."