Fury on William Street as works disrupt trade

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

FURIOUS traders on William Street say that the multi-million euro works to relay the street are “destabilising businesses” and shops will be lost in the coming months as a direct result of the disruption caused.

FURIOUS traders on William Street say that the multi-million euro works to relay the street are “destabilising businesses” and shops will be lost in the coming months as a direct result of the disruption caused.

FURIOUS traders on William Street say that the multi-million euro works to relay the street are “destabilising businesses” and shops will be lost in the coming months as a direct result of the disruption caused.

Traders and business owners contacted the Limerick Leader in recent days regarding the ongoing works and the impact they are having on footfall. On a visit to the street, nearly of the businesses consulted said that the works had damaged trade by between “35 to 40 percent”.

James Ryan, who owns Centra on William Street and O’Connell Street, said he was down 35 percent on trading last week, compared to the same week last year.

“People might question if last week was a bad week around town - I also own the Centra on O’Connell Street, which was up 10 percent last week,” said Mr Ryan. “These works are destabilising businesses and I am worried that we are going to lose a shop on the street. Including last week and this week and over the next six weeks, I will lose a minimum €100,000 turnover I reckon. I can’t sustain that, and am I going to recover those kind of figures in the long term? I don’t think so,” he added.

Labour councillor Orla McLoughlin warned earlier this year that the street could become a “ghost street” if remodelling works hampered business in the area, threatening the “economic viability” of the street.

These concerns are now fully shared by the traders, including Frank Hogan of Hogan’s Butchers who estimated that his drop in trade was “40 percent since the works began in January of this year”.

“It has had a drastic effect on business,” he explained. “The major problem is the speed with which it is going on with, we have asked them to work at night or in the evening, we have asked them to work on Sundays and nothing happens - the answer is no.”

Deputy City Manager Kieran Lehane said that it was “not the wish of the city council to in any way affect the businesses on the street and we regret that anybody would suffer adverse consequences”.

“The improvements that are being carried out on William Street are a continuation of those that took place on Sarsfield Street and before that on Bedford Row and Lower Thomas Street and the city council appreciates that works like that are disruptive, they clearly are, but it is necessary to do it, the pavements on William Street needed to be upgraded,” he explained.