DUP MLA Mr William Irwin met recently with several small business owners and traders across the Newry & Armagh constituency.
Mr Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retailers Trade Association (NIIRTA), accompanied Mr Irwin on a walk about as they visited a number of towns and spoke with several business owners.
Mr Irwin indicated that at a time when business conditions are extremely tough, he felt it was very important that small businesses in our local towns receive the “maximum support possible”.
He said: “I acknowledge the very difficult trading conditions that currently exist in our small rural towns and communities and this has been exacerbated by the severe crisis facing the farming industry at present, all of which has had the effect of reducing consumer spending.
“I am very passionate about encouraging residents of our smaller towns and indeed our rural communities to shop local and support local traders. As Glyn and I walked around it was very encouraging to see the variety of fresh local produce on offer in some of the shops with many of the traders indicating that they are also supporting local producers by sourcing their produce within a few miles of their business.”
Mr Roberts added: “This was a very useful visit to hear first hand the concerns of local traders in Richhill, Markethill and Tandragee with William. Local traders have big concerns with Rates, the cost of the proposed National Living Wage and Planning.”
He concluded: “Retail is a major employer in rural towns and villages and Government at every level needs to do more to support them.”