THE November meeting of Kilrush Town Council heard the town will have to market itself more effectively as the peak Christmas shopping season nears.
At the meeting Councillor Tom Prendeville, for the 27th successive year, asked that the council encourage local consumers to shop local in the build-up to the festive season.
However Councillor Ian Lynch told the meeting that the 2011 Christmas marketing campaign in Ennis impacted adversely upon Kilrush. “Ennis blew our socks off last year with their marketing campaign,” Councillor Lynch said.
“Our job is to advertise what we’re doing,” Councillor Liam Williams said.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, acting Kilrush Chamber President Jack Kelly acknowledged Ennis mounted an effective campaign 12 months ago.
“Ennis did an absolutely fantastic viral video. There wasn’t any increase or decrease in the marketing of individual businesses in Kilrush. Unless the council want to do a collective marketing exercise but from a Chamber point of view, that has never been brought to us as a project. The possibility was explored around 2006 or 2007. The council didn’t really want to get involved at that point,” he said.
Mr Kelly said the town councils two-hour free parking initiative this Saturday and from Saturday December 8 until Monday, December 31, is appreciated by business people in the town.
“In fairness the council do their bit on that side of it and they are very amenable and co-operative with the business people. We appreciate the efforts being made by the council,” the Henry Street butcher acknowledged.
He feels paid parking in the town centre is declining. “What I would say from the council’s point of view, if that’s a revenue gathering exercise, I would say they’ve had a very light year. The number of cars that have been using the town, outside of July and August, has been light. The town centre has taken a bit of a hit. One of the issues of next year’s discussions will be a possible revision of the parking bylaws,” he said.
Paid parking in Place de Plouzané, which is currently free all day, has been mentioned at previous town council meetings. Mr Kelly feels that it won’t happen however. “That was mooted last year but I think that has died a death. Absolute reality kicked in there and people said if we charge for that, we’ll drive customers out of town,” he stated.
As regards encouraging people to shop in Kilrush in the build-up to Christmas, Councillor Tom Prendeville told the November town council meeting that doing so “was playing a vital part in sustaining local and national employment levels”.