22 July 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Some town centre traders lost thousands of euro in business because of the closure of central Monaghan Town to through traffic during the course of the recent International Forge In festival showcasing the work of artist blacksmiths, Independent councillor Seamus Treanor claimed at Monday night’s meeting of Monaghan Town Council.
Colr Treanor was critical of the disruption to vehicular and pedestrian traffic which the logistical arrangements for the hosting by the town of the event entailed, but an analysis of the event that laid greater emphasis on the publicity value to Monaghan of the Forge In was given by a number of the other contributors to the debate.
Raising the matter under ‘Any Other Business’ towards the conclusion of Monday’s meeting, Colr Treanor acknowledged that the Forge In had been a successful event, but he felt that this was at an awful expense to retailers in the town, some of whom lost €1,000s in turnover because the town was virtually closed down for six days.
Colr Treanor said they had virtually no factories left in the town, and 80% of local employment was accounted for by the retail trade. On the Friday of the event in particular, which was an exceptionally wet day, traffic was jammed back out the road.
If they “bogged down” the town for six days, they were asking for trouble because retailers would not be there. He had been told that a large number of young people who were employed in retail outlets had been sent home on Saturday and not asked back on Sunday because of the fall in trade. Taxis had lost massive trade also as the town had been “a virtual fortress”.
The Independent member thought such festivals should be held in areas such as McNally’s car-park where they would not cause any problem.
“You can’t close down the centre of town,” he stated.
Sinn Féin councillor Donal Sherry said he totally agreed with Colr Treanor. He had spoken to several businesspeople who said their trade was down massively.
Stating that he did not know how far the consultation process had gone in relation to the event, Colr Sherry described the town as being at a total standstill for its duration. Vehicular traffic was unable to go in and out of the Courthouse car-park, and the town was “held for ransom” at the weekend.
Colr Sherry praised the event itself, but expressed the view that there would have to be wider consultation if festivals of this type were staged in the town in the future.
Tommy Hagan (Fine Gael) also felt the Forge In should have been staged in McNally’s car-park and the town kept flowing with traffic.
Full story in The Northern Standard

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