Government energy support scheme needs to be extended say RGDATA

Government energy support scheme needs to be extended say RGDATA
Tara Buckley

Viable, family-owned food retailers are facing horrendous and challenging times and, without support, community shops and supermarkets will close, RGDATA have warned Oireachtas Committee.

On Wednesday 16 November, an RGDATA delegation led by President Colin Fee, an SME retail and business owner from Dundalk, Co Louth, and Director General, Tara Buckley, outlined the huge challenges that are threatening the survival of local, family-owned food and convenience stores and supermarkets across Ireland.

Representing the owners of over 3,500 local shops, convenience stores, forecourt stores and supermarkets providing 100,000 jobs in communities throughout Ireland– RGDATA President Colin Fee highlighted how the collective impact of horrendous energy hikes and numerous business cost increases is threatening the viability of many family-owned SME grocery stores.

“In my 35 years of trading I have operated through the Troubles in the north, cross border shopping, foot and mouth disease, the 2008 crash and the Covid pandemic and in all that time I was never as worried about the viability of my business as I am now,” says Mr Fee, who owns four convenience stores a pub and a restaurant in Co Louth told the Committee.

RGDATA Directors Rachel Twomey, Twomey’s SuperValu Deansgrange, Co Dublin; Leona Pender, Browne’s Londis, Kilcock, Co Kildare; Annie Timothy, Timothy’s Londis Abbeytown, Co Roscommon and Padraig Broderick, Spar Croom Co Limerick also took part in the presentation.

RGDATA called for a review of the Emergency Energy Support Scheme, a special support scheme for SME businesses to manage the phased introduction of the Living Wage, Statutory Sick Pay and pension auto enrolment.

RGDATA also called for action to make insurance companies pass on the benefits of recent reforms in lower shop premiums.

RGDATA also called for investment in rollout of Town Centre First to address dereliction and vacancy and practical programmes to develop community led regeneration and proper engagement with local businesses when designing traffic management and mobility schemes.