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Gloom has lifted but people still fear bad times could be back

THERE'S a certain feelgood factor in the air – but voters in a southside suburb are also worried the economic upturn may prove to be shortlived.

Loyalty to local business in Stillorgan is evident and punters and traders are working side by side to ensure that jobs remains in the community.

"Everyone was talking doom and gloom for so long, but now things seem to have turned round. There's a certain vitality in the area at the moment," says Ciaran Hegarty, who works in Boland's – Stillorgan's oldest pub.

He said that while business wise takings are certainly not on a par with the heady days of the Celtic Tiger, activity seems to have steadied in recent months.

He also pointed out one of the key centres of economic activity in the area – the local shopping centre – is still attracting a steady stream of customers.

"It's old but it has a lot going for it,'' he said.

"I'm over there on a daily basis and they are doing well. The coffee shops and the restaurants all seem to be holding their own.''

However, he stressed "some form of stimulus" for this part of south Dublin would be very welcome.

"I accept there's no magic formula to attract even more people into the area," he added. But if this were to happen it would have a very positive knock on-effect on business in general. Having said that the business mood in Stillorgan could be described as pretty good.''

Meanwhile, Maedbh Walsh (above), who owns a local sewing studio said the perennial problem of traffic congestion remains an ongoing headache.

"There are too many tailbacks – plus a lot of congestion – in and out of the shopping centre. Having said that it's still great they offer free parking,'' she said.

She said Stillorgan shopping centre had also retained its "friendly, homely environment".

She suggested this remained a unique selling point and that a "personable" dimension to shopping was something the area should try to retain.

"It's nice when you're walking around the centre and you get a nod from the butcher. It's extremely important to me to support local businesses," she said. "I had to leave Ireland in the last recession to get a job."

She also said her family have been affected by the downturn in that some of them have had to emigrate.

Ms Walsh said this makes supporting local shops and other enterprises important.

"My sons are away so I know how important it is to keep jobs at hom.


"I'm self employed now – but it's consoling there's such a great buzz in this area now,'' she said.

But the ongoing hassles of meeting the various costs of running a business remain an ongoing concern.

Conor O'Dwyer from the Orchard pub said these range "from lighting charges, to the spend on rubbish collection."

"But people have more money in their pockets and recently they seem to have loosened the purse strings," he added. "But it hasn't been dramatic."