THE chief executive of the Cork Business Association (CBA) has hit back at reports that dozens of traders are looking to form a new business association in the city.
Lawrence Owens said that the CBA remains focused on dealing with the issues in the city. He said that ‘it is easy to give out and complain about everything and provide no solutions.’
Mr Owens was responding after the Evening Echo revealed that dozens of city traders are due to announce the formation of a new trader group as early as next week.
The news comes after months of unrest in the city surrounding the Patrick Street car ban, the Morrison’s Island flood plans and other issues, such as the removal of parking spaces in several city areas. Many businesses say they are struggling, with a number in court yesterday for the non-payment of commercial rates arrears.
Mr Owens pointed to a number of initiatives to increase footfall which the CBA was instrumental in negotiating on behalf of its members, including changes to the park and ride service, free parking initiatives and set-down spaces.
“Of course there are issues and problems and we will deal with those problems but we always try and provide solutions,” he said. “The easy option is to complain about everything, to stay where you are and not change.”
The afternoon ban on cars is part of a long-term movement strategy for the city, which Mr Owens said is vital for future development.
“In the next three years, 5,000 new people will be coming to work in this city. They all can’t drive into Cork because they city can’t cope with it. Everyone is agreed on that, so we have to accept there is going to be change and help businesses adjust to that change. If we don’t, these new developments will go somewhere else. I have heard a lot of giving out in the last few days and I know people are hurting. If your business is in trouble, it is natural to look for someone to blame. We either look for solutions or we just give out, and then what happens?”
He said the CBA has been working for Cork traders for decades.
“As an organisation, we have been in existence for 61 years and we will continue to represent businesses in Cork across a broad range of issues. We will continue with that philosophy, to try and promote the city and do what is best for Cork.”