Following the closure of four New Ross businesses over recent weeks, Fine Gael Cllr Bridín Murphy said more may follow if energy costs remain so high. Anna Furlong’s hair salon on South Street, Vibe hair salon in Rosbercon and the Book Shelter on John Street, not to mention Green-way Couriers, announced closures (permanent and ‘temporary’) over recent weeks.
Cllr Murphy expects a turbulent year ahead for retail in the town. “It is a particularly difficult time for businesses in our town. There are soaring costs for running a business. That’s going to dictate the landscape for business in New Ross into 2023,” she said.
“If energy costs don’t come down it’s going to continue to play a part. We can do our best to encourage business but if the costs remain as they are we’re going to see more businesses closing.”
She is confident The Shambles and Brennan’s Lane projects will greatly benefit the town centre and could drive business in New Ross.
“Both Brennan’s Lane and The Shambles are in the centre of the town and The Shambles particularly will create a hub that will draw people in. I think it really needs to be well thought out. For me going down the food route is a good idea. I think New Ross would benefit hugely from a night time economy and anything that we can provide in The Shambles to get it off its feet would be hugely important.”
Cllr Murphy would be in favour of incentivising businesses.
“A conversation is needed about how we encourage businesses to be involved in a night time economy. I’m not going as far as to say doing away with rates for a year but we do need to think about it.”
She said New Ross has an opportunity to be a cultural hub.
“We have a magnificent theatre that not all small towns have and we have utilised it very well. It is a central hub. When you look at the murals and The High Hill and all of the performance areas I think we have an opportunity to really provide something unique in New Ross and I think it’s not an unrealistic vision. We’re moving towards it and there’s more that can be done to encourage it.”
She said there has been bold, ambitious thinking about New Ross.
“I think the local authority has been very encouraging of culture, but like anything these things take time. They don’t just happen all at once.”