Online Retail Scheme welcome but more support for local businesses needed

galway daily news kennys bookstore
Kennys Bookstore, Galway

Senator Seán Kyne has welcomed the allocation of funding for Galway retailers under the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme but said more support for local businesses is needed.

Under the second round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, eleven Galway retailers have been allocated funding to help strengthen their online presence and attract new customers.

“While the impact of the pandemic on shopping habits is not fully known, it is safe to say that the types of products and services purchased online will only have expanded this year,” said the Galway Fine Gael senator.

“This has pros and cons for businesses, but it also has ramifications for our town and village centres and even our city centres.”

READ MORE: 11 well-known Galway retailers allocated funding?

“Previous research has shown that anything up to 70% of the online spend leaves Ireland. That means a loss of revenue to the State but more importantly it means devastating losses to Irish businesses,” added Senator Kyne.

“And we should remember that Irish businesses – unlike some of the largest global ones – are operating to the highest standards in terms of health and safety and employee welfare.

“The Government – both this one and the previous one – expanded supports and introduced new ones. Supports like the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, the ReStart Grant, the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme have helped.”

He said however that the situation is evolving rapidly, as can be seen by the recent research.

“For several years we have been working hard to revitalise and regenerate city, town and village centres – a vibrant retail sector is at the centre of these efforts.

“If one walks around any city, town or village centre at the moment the permanent closure of once thriving local businesses is a painful sight.

“We need to work harder to support small and medium businesses and we need to act now, in advance of the Christmas seasons, so that local businesses can survive.”