Orla Shiel wearing Ela Maria Ennis as O’Connell Street turned into an outdoor runway for the Ennis Street Fashion Show. Photograph: Brian Arthur.
‘SHOP LOCAL this Christmas’ was the resounding unified message from elected representatives in the Ennis Municipal District.
Although they have been at loggerheads on many issues within the county town, there was some common ground from councillors on the need to support the local economy this festive season.
Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) urged the Ennis MD to launch “a strong campaign” this Christmas season “with the message Shop Local This Christmas ensuring the public are fully aware Ennis Town is open for business”.
Administrative officer in the Ennis MD, Niamh O’Connor acknowledged, “It is important that we avail of every opportunity to promote shopping local this Christmas”. She outlined that a specific promotional video had been released by the Council’s tourism department in November titled ‘winter escapes to Ennis’, “there is a heavily set digital marketing campaign placed behind this video too, which is running from November through to March”.
O’Connor continued, “A poster outlining the schedule of events in Ennis prepared by Ennis MD is being circulated widely on social media to attract people to the town in the lead up to Christmas”.
Local retailers were provided with an opportunity to showcase their offering at the Ennis Street Fashion Show, Niamh noted. “In addition to the specific business supports to local Ennis Businesses, the Local Enterprise Office has planned a one-off advertising campaign through local media channels around December 8th asking people to support local businesses in the County. Ennis MD added the ‘Look for Local’ logo to the end of the ‘Switching on the lights’ video, which was posted online and viewed over 7,000 times. The Ennis Chamber is also planning a promotional campaign to ask people to support local businesses this Christmas”.
Paul Corey’s video for the Council promoting the switching on of the Christmas lights by Clare hurler, Shane O’Donnell was praised by Cllr O’Callaghan. “Consumer spending makes up 70% of gross domestic product and a fifth of all retail sales occur in the last two months of the year, our businesses have endured a rocky time since COVID, it is important to emphasise the message to shop local,” he said.
Seconding the proposal, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) commented, “It is important at this time of year to encourage local people to spend their money locally, we have a fantastic town, we have every type of shop that is needed throughout the town and throughout the outskirts of the town, it is so important that people look and see what is available in Ennis and avail of what we have. I was in business for quite a lot of years in the centre of O’Connell St, we rely on local business, that is our bread and butter, it is great to see visitors coming in but they are a bonus, we need to encourage local people to stay local, I need to commend Niamh and Ennis MD team for the work they have done over the last few months preparing for the Christmas season”.
Mayor of the Ennis MD, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) said all representatives backed the motion. “I am appealing to all the people to shop in Ennis, there is no excuse for anyone in this town to travel to Galway, Limerick or Dublin because we have everything in Ennis, we have so much modern fashion for men and women in Ennis”.
Sending the message to shop local was “incredibly important,” Cllr Mary Howard (FG) stressed. “Every euro spent in the locality is an investment in that community, it is so important to shop local and keep our carbon footprint down”. She added, “If you’re saving a tenner or five euro by going online it is not worth it because it will lead to the closure of our local shops”.
Work of the Ennis MD staff in promoting the town was heralded BY Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) and Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF).
“It is fundamental that we state something very important, online business is down this year so we’re going back to a bricks and mortar business,” Cllr O’Callaghan added. Referencing the fashion show, he mentioned, “Celia Holman Lee is a personal friend of mine, she was there to promote our boutiques, it is giving a positive message that Ennis is open for business”.
Mayor Daly remarked, “Celia was 73 on the day and I told her she looked 41” to which Cllr Howard responded, “If I look like that at 73 I’ll be very happy”.