Clare Marts has sold Ennistymon Mart to a well-known discount supermarket for a price tag believed to be in the region of €1.5m, despite opposition from the local IFA branch and traders.
Clare Marts would not confirm the identity of the buyer or any of the terms and conditions, which it considers as “commercially sensitive information”.
However, it is understood that the mart has been sold to Aldi subject to planning permission, which could take a number of years. Aldi has declined to comment.
It is also expected that any planning application lodged by Aldi to Clare County Council will be vigorously opposed by some local traders and residents.
IFA vice-chairman Tom Clair said local farmers, traders and the entire north Clare community was “disappointed” and “outraged” following confirmation of the sale.
Ennistymon SuperValu manager, Jackie Crowe told a recent public meeting it would take 15 people to run a new Aldi store, which wouldn’t result in any new jobs as they would simply be displaced from her store and small shops in the locality. She insisted the local population wasn’t big enough to support a large discount store and existing shops in the locality.
Ms Crowe said the store paid €1.4m in wages last year to 70 staff as well as €400,000 to small independent producers in north Clare.
Clare Marts chairman, Martin McNamara denied there was an agenda to run down the mart with a view to selling it to any retail outlet. Mr McNamara said it was decided to upgrade all their mart sites following a board review in January 2012. Almost €20,000 was spent upgrading Ennistymon Mart. Asked about claims a new supermarket would “decimate” local shops in Ennistymon, he said Clare Marts doesn’t interfere with other business.
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