Laois town losing shoppers over National Ploughing Championship traffic restrictions

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

The National Ploughing Championships on all this week in Tullamore in Offaly will generate millions, but nearby in Laois, Mountmellick traders are unhappy at the loss to business because of traffic restrictions.

The town is on the N80 road to Tullamore, and traffic barriers are lining the streets to help heavy traffic flow through the town. However they are preventing locals from parking outside shops.

Sinéad Horan of Ó Horáin's newsagents has led a request on behalf of traders to the public to keep shopping despite the lack of parking.

She claims that the ploughing, in its third year in Offaly, causes a loss of trade of up to 70 percent for Mountmellick town shops.

"Traffic restrictions dictate whether loyal customers can park & shop. Turnover for the last 3 years was reduced by 50% to 70% amongst ourselves & our colleagues. This is not good enough," she said.

"300k visitors are expected to visit the championships. Great for Anna May & her coffers but she’ll be out of the vicinity by Friday," she said.

She praises the new Mountmellick Garda Sergeant Mick O'Connell.

"On the plus side, our local Garda Sergeant is the first to ever even empathise & ask how we feel. That’s a first & is most welcome. More of the same amongst the traffic core on duty would be nice. 
So, basically, don’t forget us & all the other businesses adversely affected, over this Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. “The Ploughing” comes & goes but we want to be around for the long game. 
Thanks everyone & enjoy the spectacle if you go"