By Pádraig Hoare
A body representing almost 2,000 retailers in Ireland has named five politicians it claims are the best advocates for the sector as it goes through major transition.
Retail Excellence said the four TDs and one senator were the top supporters “for their support of retail industry priorities including insurance, online, employment challenges, infrastructural investment and resources for the authorities”.
It said Senator Paudie Coffey (Fine Gael) and TDs Dara Calleary (Fianna Fáil), Jan O’Sullivan (Labour), Michael Healy Rae (Independent) and Maurice Quinlivan (Sinn Féin) “cared about retailers big and small”.
Established in 1995, Retail Excellence is said to be the biggest lobby group for the sector in Ireland with almost 2,000 members. It is led by former Labour Party senator Lorraine Higgins.
“This cross-party group of Oireachtas members through their work has shown that they care about retailers big and small and value the role these businesses play in their local communities across Ireland,” said Ms Higgins.
“We appreciate their support on behalf of the industry, their support for the sustained growth of it and their recognition of retail’s role as the largest private industry employer in the country.
“The bipartisan group has worked to encourage a vibrant, sustained and healthy retail industry which we appreciate and value” she said.
Ms Higgins has called for a minister for retail to be appointed as the sector goes through transition such as the growing move towards online shopping.
Retail has 45,000 businesses, of which 75% are family-owned, employing 282,000 employees and contributing €7bn per annum to the exchequer, says Ms Higgins.