Vacant premises and business closures in Callan have left the town “dying on its feet” with locals saying the government needs to invest more in rural Ireland.
Many shops have closed in recent months and a special report by the Kilkenny People this week reveals the extent of the vacant premises in the heart of the town.
From Lower Bridge street, all the way up to Green Street, stores have closed with vacant sites and empty shop fronts littering the town.
Hackett’s Food Store on Lower Bridge Street has closed recently as well as Butler’s Newsagent and Deli across the road from it which is “closed until further notice”. Upper Bridge Street is full of shop fronts that are boarded up or completely vacant and dilapidated.
Carrie’s Kitchen on West Street closed down earlier this year with another premises on Green Street for rent as “commercial” space.
Callan’s postmistress, Elaine Bryan, said: “We have lots of new housing developments around the town and when people bought these houses, most would have been working in Kilkenny and would have continued to do all their business in Kilkenny, which is understandable.
“But since they have had families and with children joining the GAA, soccer and other clubs in the town, I really thought they would have invested more in the town and while some certainly do, lots of people don’t.
John Lockes and Callan United are thriving which is brilliant but I don’t understand - with so many people in Callan - why it is dying on its feet. We also have quite a number of businesses, but still, it’s not thriving.”
One person - who was a customer in a local premises - described Callan as becoming “more and more barren”.
Meanwhile Abbas Ghadimi has been in business eleven years on Green Street in Callan and he says were it not for his and his wife’s expertise the shop would not have survived.
Mr Ghadimi, who owns Food for Life, says smaller businesses may just “forget about” competing with the big franchises.
When asked about the vacant premises and closures, he said: “They give a derelict feel to the town. I work in homeopathy and my wife works in systematic kinesiology and without that expertise the shop wouldn’t have survived.”
Another Callan businessman, who did not wish to be named, says the footfall just isn’t in the town. He said: “I wouldn’t encourage my children to go into business here, I just don’t think there’s a future in it.”