THE benefits of shopping local and buying Irish produced goods needs to be re-emphasised, as the Christmas shopping seasons gathers pace.
The public has been asked to think of local jobs and, through a number of campaigns up and down the country, are been encouraged to consider shopping local and buying Irish this Christmas.
The economic climate is inherently difficult for retailers.
This year has seen the continued closure of shops and more difficulties facing many traders in town centres.
Their concerns are shared in many other towns and villages, where local shops and businesses are competing with large malls, shops in the North or the attractions of buying online.
As the Christmas shopping seaason enteres full swing attention should be focussed on the goods and services available locally, and the return to the economy when buying Irish goods.
The purchasing power in everyone’s pockets should not be underestimated.
People should look first to their local shops for Christmas presents and other supplies before going further afield.
In many cases, shoppers will be surprised at the range of goods and other services available in their locality, and can save a lot of time and energy by checking these out first.
Local traders provide employment, and much of the money spent in these businesses goes straight back into the local economy.
People can generally find a wide range of shops and services practically on their doorstep, and there can be a very positive impact from just switching a couple of purchases.
In addition to urging people to shop local, shoppers should think about buying Irish-produced and Irish-made products, which will generate income in the economy and help to protect Irish jobs.
The Buy Irish campaign estimates that every €4 extra spent on Irish goods can generate up to 6,000 jobs.
According to this, if everyone were to make a particular effort to switch at least one item in each shopping basket to an Irish product, the effect on unemployment would be very noticeable.
People should actively think about where they buy groceries, gifts and services and to make sure they consider putting Irish goods in their basket.
This will have a significant impact and is a positive response to the challenges facing us all.
Laois is fortunate in having many local businesses and excellent retail shops which play their part in contributing to community life in towns and rural areas across the county.
Their importance to the local economy and econmy is immeasurable.
Now is the time to give them our full support. Everyone should endeavour to make this Christmas a local one.