A new group set up to represent retailers in Cork city and county says it wants a seat at the table of decision-making on retail.
The Cork Retailers’ Association (CRA) becomes the latest group - alongside Cork Chamber and the Cork Business Association (CBA) who both count retailers amongst their membership - to speak on behalf of retailers in the region.
CRA spokesman John Minihan, who runs a pharmacy on Oliver Plunkett St and is a member of the CRA’s interim executive, said there has never been a "dedicated voice" for retail in Cork and they plan to give a voice to the estimated 35,000 people working in some 5,000 retailers across the region.
“And with the very large sector that it is and the conduit that it is for everything economic in Cork, we are taking on the challenge of establishing this organisation so that we can embrace change and effect change,” he said.
“Our message is all about positivity and progress for this sector and we want a seat at the table of decision-making on retail in Cork city and county and for an industry of this size - that seat is long overdue.”
CRA's interim executive also includes retailers Pam O’Regan, Tim Keane, Paul Gallagher, Wyon Stansfeld, Eddie Mullins and Michael Mulcahy.
The retail sector is already represented on CORE, the city centre partnership group, alongside representatives of Cork Chamber and the CBA.
City council chief executive, Ann Doherty, said CORE has had no formal communication from the new group and that any application to participate in CORE's work will be considered.
Confirmation of the new group comes just days after several city centre retailers, many of whom led vocal opposition to the city council’s afternoon car ban on St Patrick's St, invited Retail Excellence to brief traders on the future of retailing. It is now preparing a report on retailing in Cork.
Mr Minihan said: “We want Cork to be the retail capital of Ireland south and to reinvent its offering. We want every suburb, village and town in Cork to look at its local offering and reinvent itself where it needs to so that it remains relevant, vibrant and ready to embrace a future that will support it."