Northern shopping not a benefit, NIITRA
Northern Ireland grocery retailers warn the Irish Government not to lift the caps in the Retail Planning Guidelines
9 February 2009
Cross border shopping has brought “very little real benefit to the Northern Ireland economy,” says the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.
NIIRTA chief executive Glyn Roberts has said increased trade went mainly to UK multiples. Speaking at an Oireachtas Enterprise Committee Enquiry, Roberts said multiples “have a poor track record of supporting local suppliers and farmers.”
“It is vitally important that RoI learns from…Northern Ireland’s weak retail planning system which is allowing almost unrestricted unsustainable out of town development by the UK Multiples [and] threatening hundreds of local shops and thousands of jobs in our town and city centres.”
He advised that the present cap be maintained or reduced further to protect small retailers. Groups including RGDATA, Aldi, Musgrave and the NCA also presented their views at the enquiry.
In January, an Oireachtas Committee conducted a two-day fact finding mission on cross border trade. This visited Ballyclare, Banbridge, Belfast and Dundalk to talk to industry representatives, including NIIRTA, the DoE and Dundalk Chamber of Commerce.