Cross-Sector Open Letter Calls for National Taskforce to revive our town centres in a new post-pandemic world

May 31, 2020

Chambers Ireland, today (31 May 2020), calls on the next Government to make a commitment that the Department of the Taoiseach will lead a sufficiently resourced, cross-departmental National Taskforce to revive our town centres in a new post-pandemic world. The overarching objective of this Taskforce must be to enhance liveability, increase housing supply and support sustainable, active transport.

In an open letter, Chambers Ireland is joined by its members and several other bodies, associations, and individuals, including the IPI and RIAI, who share this vision and calls for the next Programme for Government to include a national strategy that prioritises sustainable town centres and supports them to thrive.

Open Letter Calling for National Taskforce for Town Centres

“As our local economies begin to reopen, we must remember that the challenges we faced in January are not only still present; they are even more pressing.

Post COVID-19, the question we must ask ourselves is not how do we return to the old normal, but rather how do we make our country more sustainable?

It is by making ourselves a resilient society – offering people sustainable employment in towns and cities, coupled with effective action on climate change – that we will surmount these challenges.

Social distancing requirements have revealed the overwhelming need for safe and people-centred places and environments – our towns and cities must adapt to survive. City and town centres need to be given support at a national level so they can adapt to this “new normal”.

Creative urban design, spatial planning and fiscal policies will be a critical part of the overall solution and must be put in place to support the transition. Unless we take radical action to address reduced footfall, increasing vacancies and declines to commercial activity, we risk exacerbating the economic downturn in towns throughout the country.

We, the under-signed, call for the next Programme for Government to prioritise sustainable town centres and support them to thrive.

Ireland needs the Department of the Taoiseach to lead a sufficiently resourced, cross-departmental National Taskforce to revive our town centres in a new post-pandemic world. The overarching objective must be to enhance liveability, increase housing supply and support sustainable, active transport.

If we do not tackle these crises, with the ambition and vision needed to overcome them, we will fail not only the towns that make up the fabric of our society, but the people, businesses and communities that encompass them.”

To add your name to the Open Letter, please contact Chambers Ireland by emailing Gabriel.Doran@chambers.ie

Jenny Beresford, Dungarvan Chamber Dr Aoife Corcoran (Dublin) Catriona Cahill, Limerick Chamber
Tara Buckley (Dublin) Dr Philip Crowe (Dublin) Anne Cunnane, Ballyhaunis Chamber
Mark Dearey (Dundalk) Bernard Greene (Leitrim) Margaret O’ Brien, Ennis Chamber
Kenny Deery, Galway Chamber Alison Harvey (Kilkenny) Orla Purcell, IPI
Bernadette Donohoe (Sligo) Conor Healy, Cork Chamber Stephen Purcell (Dublin)
Bernie Everard, Laois Chamber John Hurley, Kilkenny Chamber Eunan Quinn (Donegal)
Martha Farrell (Tralee) Dr Luke Kelleher (Dublin/Belfast) Annemarie Ryan (Tipperary)
Dr Miriam Fitzpatrick (Dublin) Denis Kelly (Donegal) Charlotte Sheridan MRIAI MIPI
Dr Karen Foley (Dublin) Michael Margey (Letterkenny) Sarah Sherlock (Laois)
Toni Forrester, Letterkenny Chamber Aebhric McGibney, Dublin Chamber Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland
Carmel Fox (Tipperary) Kathryn Meghen, RIAI Ken Tobin, Tralee Chamber
Dr Neil Galway (Belfast) Orla Murphy (Mayo) Nathalie Weadick (Dublin)
Michael Gaynor, Dundalk Chamber Róisín Nic Cóir (Dublin) Tony Williams IFLA
Deirdre Greaney (Sligo)  Fiona Lewis, County Wexford Chamber Kevin Woods FRIAI
Mags Downey Martin, Ballina Chamber Gerry Luskin, Ballina Chamber Brian Hopkins, Ballina Chamber
Paul Regan, Ballina Salmon Festival Liam Kennelly, Listowel Diarmuid Mollin, MIEI
Frank Monahan, Architecture at the Edge Helena McElmeel MRIAI, Helena McElmeel Architects Edel Boles, Mullingar Chamber
Jamie McNamara, SPAB Scotland Chair, SPAB Ireland Guardian Ciarán Meers, Founder, Cork Commuter Coalition Bernie Reilly, Longford Chamber
Cormac Lehane Michael Molloy, Limerick Kevin Jennings & Martina Callinan, Galway Cycling Campaign
Anne-Marie Flynn, Manager, Mayo North Tourism Robert Lindsay, BSC. Hons  

 

-ENDS- 

For further information contact Gabriel Doran, Communications & Media Executive on 01 400 4331, 086 608 1605 or email Gabriel.Doran@chambers.ie

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