Pulling together this Christmas

Comment & Opinion

CLEAR MESSAGE The CEO is ISME, Neil O'Donnell, is appealing to consumers across the country to 'Shop Local' this Christmas.

Help keep local jobs and ensure much-loved businesses’ survival

As we enter the month of December, thoughts turn to Christmas and how we can celebrate as best we can this year. The last number of Christmases have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis is no doubt going to affect people’s spending for the festive season this year.
While the temptation to shop online can be strong, now more than ever we must try to support our local businesses and make sure the festive season is a profitable one for them. Many have websites too, so you can still support them online. And for those who don’t, do try to make the effort to drop in.  
The head of ISME, the organisation that supports small and medium enterprises across the country, Neil O’Donnell, has in recent days come out and asked Irish consumers to think long and hard about how they spend their hard earned cash this Christmas.
“Christmas 2022 will be the third successive year of challenged trading conditions for many Irish businesses. You can make the difference for many of those affected this year with your spending decisions. Save time, money and the environment by keeping at least a portion of your festive spending local this Christmas,” he said.
“Before you decide your next purchase, ask yourself how can I support my local community; reduce my carbon footprint and transport costs; access products that are sustainable and traceable and get quality and value for money,” he added.
Despite the continuing difficulties surrounding the cost-of-living crisis, most families will be able to come together to celebrate Christmas 2022, and by shopping locally we can help support the jobs and the industries that keep out communities alive and prospering.
We have all seen the temptations that come with marketing campaigns like last week’s Black Friday, but in truth, there is great value to be had in stores and shops across Mayo, and after a quiet November, the business people of the county will be hoping for a busy few weeks in the run up to Christmas.
Many of these local businesses are part of the very fabric and tradition of all our communities, and if they are going survive, they have to receive the support of those communities in which they operate.
When a business thrives it can create jobs for your friends, neighbours and members of your family. These new jobs provide more money to spend in the local economy.
When more money is spent locally, more jobs are created, and that means, there’s more money to support local fundraising drives for local charities, sporting events/clubs and festivals. So not only do local businesses benefit, but our communities can continue to be vibrant places where we want to live, work and bring up our families.
So the message is clear from the business sector in general, please do your best to spend your hard-earned money in your locality this Christmas.