The news from Retail Ireland this week that there has been a two point eight per cent increase in retail sales in the second quarter of 2015 in comparison to 2014 is welcome however I also note that as I have been saying all along, the recovery is based mainly in the urban centres like Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway while other small rural towns and villages continue to struggle. I welcome the comments of Retail Ireland when they say the following ” A pilot scheme should …be introduced to allow towns and cities to access regeneration and development funds. This could be used, for example, to put in place Town Centre managers with responsibility for the development of commercial centres in towns and cities”.
A plan like this is needed to kick start a proper economic recovery in our small towns and villages around the country. It is an issue that I have been pursuing since I was elected and I have proposals in that regard in the document on Rural Ireland which I will be publishing in the next couple of months. Our smaller rural towns and villages deserve to share in the economic recovery just as much as those in the larger urban areas.