CORK city is in a festive mood and very much open for business, the nation was told yesterday.
As shoppers flocked to the city on what is traditionally one of the busiest Christmas shopping days, key civic and business figures took to the national airwaves to banish talk of floods and to encourage visitor and shoppers to Leeside.
City manager Joe Gavin, Lord Mayor Dara Murphy, Cork Business Association spokeswoman Claire Nash, and Peter Kelly, the man who designed the winter wonderland in Bishop Lucey Park, were among the guests on Ryan Tubridy’s Radio 1 morning show, which was broadcast live from the historic English Market.
Ms Nash said while the morning rain put a slight dampener on trade, it picked up after midday and she had customers in her Nash 19 restaurant from all over Munster.
“Cork is very much open for business and has been since the day of the flood,” she said.
“The city is open for business and we are very positive about the next three weeks. They are crucial for the survival of a lot of businesses.
“But there is a huge sense of positivity out there. I know it sounds weird, but the flood has lifted the city. People have started realising that we are all in this together.”
Lord Mayor Cllr Dara Murphy urged people to shop local and to support local businesses. But he also urged the bigger stores not to open on St Stephen’s Day.
“We need to get the balance right between people shopping locally and enjoying the spirit of Christmas,” he said.
“I get the sense that most people don’t want shops to open on St Stephen’s Day.
“Sure, people should enjoy the tradition of shopping, but there is a time and place for shopping, and there is a time and place for enjoying Christmas with your family.
“People should remember that the sales will start on December 27,” said Mr Murphy. He also said he will not be lending his voice to calls for the city-owned city centre car parks to open on St Stephen’s Day.
While some businesses reported a drop in consumer spending yesterday compared with the same date last year, they said it was very heartening to see so many people on the streets after the disruption caused by the flood.
Gardaí coordinating Operation Freeflow said traffic moved well throughout the day with few snarl ups.
Gardaí are being deployed between 8am and 6pm at key city centre car parks to ensure motorists cannot queue on the streets.
Dedicated traffic corps motorbikes were also on patrol to keep traffic moving.
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