No 'quick fix' cure for trade
Published 16/04/2014 | 05:20
While much talk is being made at national level of 'green shoots' and an improvement in the economy, it's difficult to find optimism on the streets of Dundalk.
As the number of shops closing their doors, some after decades and decades of trading, continues to grow, questions have to be asked about how vitality can be restored to the town centre.
There are, it seems, no easy answers.
Everyone accepts that something needs to be done but no-one has the magic solution which will bring footfall back to the town's traditional shopping streets.
Finding the blame, however, isn't difficult. Poor planning, out of town shopping, retail parks and shopping centres, payparking and the lack of multi-storey parking, cross border shopping, the recession, on-line competition - everyone can list the factors which have contributed to the crisis on the high street, not just in Dundalk but in towns across the country.
Few can dispute the fact that Dundalk is 'over shopped' with more retail space than needed, with much of it pulling shoppers away from the traditional heart of the town.
However, for the sake of those traders who have continued to do business in the most difficult of circumstances, a re-imaging of the town centre is essential to entice footfall back into its fine main streets.
This requires an effort on behalf of the 'powers that be', the retailers themselves and the people of Dundalk who all need to come together to ensure that Dundalk can regain its position as the premier destination in the north east.