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Patrick Bourke.

Exiles boost for Clare business

EMIGRATION is one of the most regrettable effects of the recession but with masses returning from countries like Australia and Canada, Clare businesses are getting a Christmas lift.

Patrick Bourke has men’s clothes shops in Kilrush and Ennis and he says that the ‘Australia effect’ is obvious at the moment. “There are an awful lot of people buying clothing when they come home. They’re travelling light on the way home because of carriage and it’s so hot over there, but when they come home they’re frozen.”

One visitor to his shop had little option but to go shopping quickly. “A fella came home with one pair of jeans on him, his mother asked him to bring in coal and he dirtied his only jeans! He was going buying more, but that forced his hand to do it a bit earlier.”

He says that pubs will probably get more business from people back home for short visits. “There was a fella in from Corofin and three of his buddies had arrived home in the previous two to three days. He said the pub had seen the effect of it straight away. Where are you going to meet all the boys but down in the pub.”

Patrick said that people who now live abroad are coming back to get married, and sometimes plans are being made for 12 months time. “I’ve had an enquiry already from a guy who’s getting married this time next year and he’s doing all his preparations before he goes back again. There’s a lot of that and we’ll see a lot more of it.”

All over the country people are seeing the effects of the returned exiles, he added. “It’s causing a ripple alright and it’s the same with lads up the country who I’d be comparing notes with. In Roscommon, Tullamore, in Mayo and down in Kerry the same thing is happening.”

While there is a boost now, he feels that any sustained recovery in the retail sector is “very patchy” at best.

Rita McInerney of Ennis Chamber also says the improvement in trading due to people back for Christmas is noticeable.

“It’s a time when people come home and a time of celebration and there’s an economic boost for the local area. With the cost of travel and the cost of baggage a lot of people tend not to bring too much and then will buy some things locally when they’re here, leave that at home and then travel back light again.”

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