Traders affected by the Douglas carpark inferno in Cork have called for a rates reduction and urgent short-term action on parking.
They were speaking on their way in to a meeting this morning with a multi-agency taskforce, convened by Cork City Council, to hear their concerns in the wake of last Saturday's devastating blaze which has destroyed the 1,000-space carpark at Douglas Village Shopping Centre, and forced the closure of up to 50 retail units inside.
Up to 50 traders, some based in the shopping and others in the village who say the fallout from the fire is now affecting the wider area, are attending the meeting which is ongoing at the Rochestown Park Hotel.
Chaired by an independent facilitator, it is being attended by council chief executive, Ann Doherty, several senior officials from the council's finance and economic development directorates, senior gardai, as well as officials from the Department of Social Protection.
Ms Doherty said they want to hear traders' concerns and work with the community of Douglas.
Leonard Higgins, of Leonard Hair and Beauty, whose shopping centre salon has been closed since the fire, said his message is simple.
"We need them to look after us. We need help and it has to be financial help," he said.
"We have to have some kind of reduction in rates. We really need that badly.
"Unfortunately, I had to have a meeting with my staff yesterday and tell them to maybe start looking for jobs because what I know about the shopping centre, is that it's going to a long time before it opens again."