Dublin pedestrianisation puts small businesses at risk, warns business group
Dublin can be Heaven says ‘hostility’ towards drivers has deterred wealthier shoppers from returning to the area
10 August 2021 | 0
Small, independent retailers are being neglected under Dublin City Council’s pedestrianisation measures, business group Dublin can be Heaven has warned.
Under Dublin City Council’s Covid-19 recovery plan for businesses, several streets in the city centre have been pedestrianised. The group, which represents about 70 businesses in the city, said the council has fostered ‘hostility’ towards drivers, which has deterred wealthier shoppers from returning to the area.
The group said these measures put independent retailers are at risk of being left behind.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Mary Whelan of craft shop Eirlooms said: “Some people need to drive. Especially rural people who would be very used to being able to park straight outside a shop. We are excluding a whole section of the country. The city belongs to everybody, walkers, cyclists and drivers – not always in equal measure, but the city has to remain accessible to all, and the message is going out that Dublin is a hostile place for cars.”
Mary Costelloe of accessories shop Costelloe + Costelloe added that: “A lot of businesses are on a knife edge at the moment, we face so many difficulties in getting customers back into the city, and DCC [Dublin City Council] hasn’t given us a fair crack of the whip to help get car-borne shoppers back.”
Costelloe continued: “If you want to get the better-heeled customer into the city, people who want to buy more than a coffee, they generally prefer to travel by car.”
The focus on the hospitality industry could cause Dublin to lose its unique charm, she said: “People are coming into town for drinking, and for cafes and restaurants, and yes, they needed help, but I get the feeling DCC has no time for independent retailers and little specialist shops, and without us you could be anywhere.”
Meanwhile, Dublin City Council said it was aware if the “mix of businesses and attractions required to make Dublin city an attractive and vibrant place to visit. All businesses play a part in making the city centre what it is and it is this mix that makes Dublin city centre a unique experience.”