The Cork Business Association has urged shoppers to support the city centre this Bank Holiday Weekend after businesses were hit hard by the three-week bus strike that ended on Friday.
CBA CEO Lawrence Owens said there was a sense of relief in the city among business owners who are keen to get back their regular customers.
“The overall emotion that I'm getting from businesses is relief and as there's been movement and a breakthrough in the dispute, we hope it's sustainable,” he said “Hopefully, over the next day or two, we'll get back to normality. Easter is a very critical trading period. It's not up there with Christmas but it's an important time of the year and we need to have all the public service available to get customers into the city,” he added.
The bus strike ended after 21 days following a resolution being reached between unions and Bus Éireann after the case was examined by the Labour Court.
Full services returned to Cork city on Friday, ending a very difficult trading period for retailers who had been recording huge reductions in footfall. Michael Creedon, owner of Bradley's off licence in North Main Street estimated his business was down by at least 40%.
Several shop and restaurant owners took to social media during the strike action with pictures of deserted city streets, while Idaho Café owner Richard Jacobs wrote an open letter to the Government asking them to intervene in the industrial dispute.
Mr Owens said businesses would be doing their utmost to attract customers back into the city and asked people to support them as they recover.
“We've always been open for business, it was just difficult to get in here,” he said.
“We will certainly sit down and think how we can put offers and promotions in place to encourage people back in and the retailers won't be found wanting in that respect, despite the fact that they have had a difficult 21 or 22 days with a loss of turnover. I think they were resilient, as they always have been, whether there's flooding or whatever, they get back out there and do the best they can.
“The access points are there now, come back into the city. It's vital that we support our city centre. We just want to keep it and if it isn't supported, the opposite will be the case.
“We would encourage everyone to get back in and show a little but of support for the businesses there that badly want and need the customers back,” he added.