Wednesday 7th August

Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor TD, has said he is saddened at today’s (Wednesday) announcement that Marks and Spencer in Naas is set to close as part of a strategic plan by the company to close four shops nationwide.

“First and foremost my thoughts are with the staff and their families at this difficult time, not only in Naas but also those in the other three shops around the country. News like this is never easy and I hope that the staff involved will be given every support possible to re-enter the workforce without delay.

“The decision to close the Naas Marks and Spencer shop once again brings into sharp focus the need to urgently deal with trading in Naas town and an urgency to proceed with the uncompleted town centre complex. It is now incumbent on all of us – elected representatives, council officials and business people – to rally around and bring this long outstanding issue to a positive close. It is imperative that the town centre can open as soon as possible with a flagship store in order to reignite trade in the town centre.

“I also believe that nationwide large stores coming into the outskirts of towns haemorrhaging business from small town centre businesses should be tackled. I propose an additional tax should be levied on these shops similar to the Tesco Tax imposed in Northern Ireland. This would see a higher tax being paid by larger stores which would in turn allow lower rates for small businesses in town centres. I firmly believe that this is a possibility worth exploring to save businesses in our towns.

“I am determined to do everything I can in order to restore Naas to its former glory of a town centre with a strong trading ethos”.