BALLINROBE area councillor, Harry Walsh has voiced serious objections to a proposed multi-national development in the south Mayo town, saying that such developments are damaging the livelihoods of smaller businesses.
Cllr Walsh made his comments in relation to the proposed single level Tesco foodstore, which is planned for Friarsquarter West, Ballinrobe.
“It is my personal opinion that such multi-national chain stores are damaging the livelihood of existing grocers and we have seen a number of local grocers close their businesses in recent months,” said Mr Walsh.
The Independent councillor continued by criticising the ethical business practices of Tesco in relation to the purchase of farm produce goods and, furthermore, the practice of land acquisition by the British company.
“I would call on the Council to look at the practice by Tesco of buying land banks in Mayo through third parties, a practice which is continuing throughout the country,” said Cllr Walsh.
At present, planning permission for the proposed development at Friarsquarter West will require a material contravention of the Ballinrobe Town Plan of 1997. This issue is set to come before the Council in March, according to Mr Ray Norton, Director of Services.
Mr Norton said that the demise of local grocery businesses in Ballinrobe was attributable to the growing popularity of Castlebar as a shopping destination, with both Tesco and Dunnes operating in the county town.
He pointed out that shoppers were, unfortunately, leaving the south Mayo town, and that developments should be encouraged, in order to entice residents of Ballinrobe and the surrounding environs to shop local.