Brendan O'Connor: This dangerous madness pushes a whole sector closer to the edge
The fact is that half of the retailers in the country could go bust at any time.
Fitzgerald's Electrical Expert Store by Singer's Corner on the Grand Parade in Cork was the first shop to show colour TV in Cork in 1970, the year of my birth. By then the Fitzgerald family had been in business for over 50 years.
Even though I haven't been near the shop in decades, I can picture the front of it in my mind's eye. It was part of the landscape of Cork when I was growing up, part of the scenery. It had always been there and always would be. Like its namesake, Fitzgerald's Men's Shop up on Patrick Street, still there, though no longer the only place someone like my dad would get his gear.
Other places might morph into new things, like the Munster Arcade, which became Penneys, and Cashes, which became Brown Thomas. But those family-owned businesses were a consistent part of life: men's outfitters like Leaders, which got a new lease of life when the Frank and Walters started buying flared jeans and orange polo necks there, and has been freshened up and is still there.