Saturday 7 December 2019

Soulless towns

• We have some of the most beautiful towns and villages in the world, but you can't help but ask, for how much longer?

The closure of shops, post offices, garda stations and the local pub in rural towns and villages is a travesty in the making. Across Ireland these ghost towns have lost their cultural soul. Once they were the nucleus of all surrounding life, a sense of belonging seems to have been replaced with nothing. So, who is to blame? We could say the Government but is it really? I think it is more likely ourselves, in no longer supporting local businesses.

The advent of large supermarkets selling cheap drink has practically wiped out the pub and the small shop cannot sustain its business on newspapers and milk. I am not suggesting that people should pay more but it would be unfair to think that local shops or pubs can compete with the large multiples.

We must decide if we want to retain towns or villages worth living in, that can attract tourists, especially in this year of The Gathering.

I believe in order to try and maintain those towns that are still fairly intact the Government should give a special tax status to small shops and pubs as they do with the corporation tax rate of 12.5pc. Can we afford to turn our back on the towns and villages that in the past have been the magnet that drew millions to visit our shores?

Frank Cummins
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Irish Independent

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