Lack of footfall is ‘killing town centre’

by Rebecca Ryan
Juliet outside her business on main street Dun Laoghaire

The lack of footfall in Main Street Dun Laoghaire will have a “detrimental effect” on local businesses if it is not combatted now, according to local business owner.

Juliet O Connell has been running The Zip Yard Clothing Alterations Company in the town for almost a decade, with seven employees.

She is worried about the future of her business if the issue is not resolved.

“I worry about the future of my business as the footfall of the street has deteriorated so much over the last five years.

“I fear what will happen the Main Street in the next five years if we don’t fix the issues of derelict buildings and empty units.

“First floor thriving businesses are being driven out so landlords can build apartments.

“Dun Laoghaire Main Street is like it’s been forgotten about, and that will lead to disaster for the future if businesses and the locals don’t take action now,” Ms O’Connell told Dublin Gazette.

The mother-of-one described Dalkey, Glasthule and Monkstown as “beautiful and thriving villages” but feels Dun Laoghaire looks like a “ghost town” in comparison with empty units and derelict buildings.

Ms O’Connell said she was so sick of complaining and waiting for someone else to sort out the problem that she decided to do something about it.

She decided to run for election and has recently been selected as Labour’s candidate for Dun Laoghaire.

“I have spent over nine years listening to the constituents of Dun Laoghaire, their problems, their issues their hopes.

“What especially motivates me is their lament of a thriving Dun Laoghaire Town Centre that everyone remembers well.”

Ms O’Connell feels that parking is one of the issues that needs to be looked at to attract more footfall to the town.

“People just don’t want to spend the amount needed when they are popping in and out to use the town as their local community stop off.

“I’d like to see two hours free parking in Dun Laoghaire town to trial.

“I believe Dun Laoghaire Town Centre can be thriving and vibrant again once new business is attracted to fill the ubiquitous, empty units.

“The council need to have compulsory purchase orders on empty units’ derelict buildings and the profits of the now council owned harbour need to be directly used to benefit the town.”

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber President, Aileen Eglington said Dun Laoghaire needs more businesses to attract shoppers.

“We believe that we need more businesses within Dun Laoghaire that attract shoppers. There have been struggles for many years in DLR as our county town, with recession.

“However, DLR is being revitalised and some great new retailers have opened, as well as many existing businesses who have managed to stay afloat. But we must support them parking incentives are also key.

“We must get out there and get more new blood in, to complement the existing, and that in my mind, is independent boutiques, and maybe one big retailer to drive it in.”

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