Pat McDonagh at the The Portlaoise Plaza jobs announcement at the new Portlaoise Plaza, Monday, July 27. Picture: Alf Harvey.
As we face into a period of restricted activity in order to curtail the spread of the Covid-19 virus, one of our key objectives as a society is to protect each other.
It isn’t our natural inclination but we need to protect each other by staying away from each other. By restricting our movements, we restrict the damage the virus can cause.
There is another way that we can protect each other as well. We can help and protect our local economies. One of the big takeaways from the last period of major restrictions in March was the amount of trade that took place online. It is understandable that people will gravitate to online purchasing if they cannot visit their local businesses.
I would, therefore, encourage you to make sure your business stays local wherever possible. Our local businesses are coming up with new and innovative ways of making sure you get that product you need.
I would encourage you, your local club, society or charity to post a message on their social media platforms encouraging family, friends and members to buy Irish and buy local. We all depend on each other. If you are a member of a club or society these are the businesses that keep you going. Remember who is there when you need a contribution to the local fundraiser, takes a page in the local programme or who advertises locally.
These are the people that keep jobs local, that keep your friends, neighbours and children employed. There are some wonderful initiatives happening throughout the country.
In Laois, for example, there is a county wide gift card, the Laois Card, that is redeemable in over 100 Laois businesses. Local newspapers and radio stations have initiatives to help promote local businesses in every county in Ireland. Our national press and broadcasters are doing the same. We should engage with these initiatives and support them.
Supermac’s is a family owned and family run business. Most of our franchisees started with us when they were young people. They came up through the ranks and have set up local businesses in towns and villages throughout the country. When we say we are in this together, this is what we mean.
All our beef and chicken are 100% Irish and come from Irish suppliers. Our vegetables, bread, milk, ice cream and sauces are Irish and come from suppliers who we have long relationships with. Some of our suppliers have been with us for over 30 years. These are all businesses that provide employment for thousands of people in towns and villages throughout the country.
By supporting businesses in your local community, not only are you supporting them and the jobs they sustain but you are also supporting several businesses along the supply chain who are also employing hundreds of thousands of people.
Your support matters. Hotels in particular have been hugely impacted over the last few months. Buying a gift voucher from them can help them sustain their business so that they can survive the current restrictions. Supporting each other is how we get through this. In my 40 years in business this is the most unpredictable challenge we have faced. But we are an innovative and resilient people. We will come up with new ways of helping each other.
Together, we will come through this. Buy local. Save jobs. Support local families.