WE say it every year, but it cannot be stressed enough that the more money people spend in their own locality at Christmas time, the better it is for the local economy and especially for jobs. Without jobs to keep people in rural towns and villages, people either have to go on social welfare – at an extra cost to the taxpayer – or else are forced to migrate to bigger centres where there is a better chance of work.
Depopulation of rural areas will inevitably lead to cutbacks or the loss of services that could set them back irrevocably. Towns across most of West Cork are boosted economically by tourists during the summer, but coming up to Christmas is make or break time for a lot of shops and businesses and they are reliant of local support to get them across the line to remain viable.
Nobody is naïve enough to think that people will spend all their money in their local town as a trip to the city in a ‘must’ for most families and a lot of people will find it more convenient to buy online especially now that the exchange rate for sterling is so favourable for people in the euro zone. There is the added attraction of better value shopping in Northern Ireland and across the pond to contend with this year also.
However, none of us should lose sight of the over-arching benefits of spending as much as we can of our Christmas budgets in our own locality. As the old Irish saying goes: ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine,’ meaning that people who live together depend on one another.
Starting this week, The Southern Star is publishing a series of free magazines, showcasing the great value to be had locally in the various towns and villages across West Cork. We ask you to support our advertisers in whatever way you can to help maintain jobs in the locality.