It is impossible to walk along Dublin’s O’Connell St, our capital’s main street, and not wonder how such an elegant, well-proportioned, and beautiful thoroughfare has become such a shabby collection of fast food takeaways and bland international shopfronts.
It is as if our capital had fallen on hard times and lost its sense of self-respect and any sense of duty to its built heritage.
The same issues are in play right across the country, but Kerry County Council has taken the bull by the horns.
The council will ask global retailers to tailor signage and observe a traditional palette, so Kerry streetscapes might at least appear harmonious.
Enforcement letters have been sent to a small number of businesses ruled out of step, or who have failed to even apply for planning.
Local authorities are to be encouraged and supported in these efforts, as they are unlikely to easily influence powerful international businesses.
Consumers have a powerful card to play. Why would anyone support a business that contributes to destroying a town’s visual character?