Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.27 24 Jul 2020


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A business group has claimed the July stimulus package will not save city centre jobs.

On Thursday, the Government announced 50 separate measures as part of a €7bn COVID-19 recovery package.

It  includes €5bn of spending, €2bn in credit guarantees ans a 2% VAT cut.

But Richard Guiney, CEO of DublinTown, told Newstalk Breakfast more clarity is needed in terms of messaging.

"The public have said that they will come back to the city - between 70% and 80% in surveys - but I think they're getting very mixed messages from Government and other sources.

"So they're told it's safe to go back to the city but not safe to go back to their jobs in offices.

"They're told that public transport's being increased in capacity to 50% but they're not to use it.

"There'll be pedestrianisation, but only on a Saturday and only to 7pm.

"So I think we need to take a kind of a helicopter view, think we need to encourage people back into their offices in a safe and controlled way and we need to get spending moving.

"While there's a lot of good stuff in the stimulus plan, I don't think it's enough to save businesses.

"Certainly what we're getting back from a lot of businesses [is] they're giving it until September, they might close permanently in September, and others I fear will close by the end of the year unless there's a change in the ongoing situation."

Asked what the Government can do, he said: "I think we need to start looking at some of the messaging to the public... its urban centres are struggling.

"And it's not just in Ireland, it's internationally - we're speaking to people in Manchester, in Athens, in Amsterdam, in Barcelona - they've all got the same issues.

"So urban centres are really struggling, so I think there's definitely a confidence building measure that needs to be done around cities.

"Sending messages that it's not safe to go back to your office, but it is safe to go in to shop and socilaise - they're kind of mixed messages".

He also said weekend pedestrianisation plans should be extended across seven days in Dublin city as "businesses need money in their tills Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday primarily - they'll be OK at the weekend.

"A lot of these are not financial measures, but they're measures that need to be taken".

Main image: Shoppers peering through a shuttered entrance in Rathmines, Dublin in January 2020. Picture by: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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City Centre City Centres DublinTown July Stimulus Plan Messaging Newstalk Breakfast Richard Guiney

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