President of Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce and Minister Peter Burke
Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Peter Burke, T.D., in a short visit to Kilkenny City yesterday met a number of business people, traders and shoppers.
He visited the pop-up shop “Made in Kilkenny” which showcases the works of craft producers in County Kilkenny. This was followed by a short visit to the weekly farmers markets on the Parade.
The Minister was very complimentary on the changes made in Rose Inn Street and High Street with the introduction of one-way system giving pedestrians and shoppers more space as they move about in the City. As it was Christmas he made a special visit to the Christmas Experience in the grounds of the Medieval Mile Museum to ensure that Santa was busy getting all those presents ready for all the children. The Minister made a short visit to Kieran Street and into the Market Yard to see the additional outdoor seating provided during Covid to facilitate outdoor dining/takeaways. Before he departed he got a view of the developments in the Abbey Quarter from the Lady Desart Bridge and also the beautiful renovated Evans Home which is now home to the Butler Gallery. Unfortunately, time did not allow for him to visit the Gallery and Wolkwalkers exhibition.
Cllr Andrew Mc Guinness, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, in welcoming the Minister ‘s and accompanying him on his visit through the City stated that “I am very pleased to welcome the Minister to Kilkenny City for his visit to see many worthwhile projects being undertaken by Kilkenny County Council to enable our businesses to operate despite restrictions since last month. I was delighted to be able to inform him of the initiatives being undertaken such as Yulefest, Shop Local Campaign, extension to the weekly markets and so on to help our citizens in Kilkenny to stay in the County and do their shopping for Christmas.”
The Minister was delighted to meet the business people in the City Centre and welcomed the opportunity to speak with them about trading during the pandemic, challenges facing businesses and activity since shops have re-opened.
Cllr John Coonan, Mayor of Kilkenny City welcomed the Minister to the weekly market on the Parade and he reviewed the new lights installed on the Parade for the Christmas funded by Kilkenny Leader Partnership and Kilkenny County Council with the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce. The Mayor stated that: “I was delighted to be in a position in this unprecedented year to switch on the new Christmas lights on the Parade. It was great to see the joy in people faces when the new lights came on and the children were delighted that Santa made a surprise visit to the Parade. We needed an uplift and a diversion from Covid related news. The Minister took the opportunity to talk to a number of traders while he walked around and this was greatly appreciated by the traders”.
Speaking during his visit Minister Burke said: “In a year like no other, Kilkenny County Council has played a vital role in the national response to the crisis: through supports for their local economy; social assistance for individuals and communities, works to make public spaces safer and swift changes to how they deliver services”.
Colette Byrne, Chief Executive stated that “it is very important that we engage with all the businesses and all our communities in providing much needed services and spaces in a safe environment. Funding from national government is critical in the delivery of new projects and most welcome as it enables us to be more ambitious with our plans in improving facilities in the City and throughout the County for our own people and also for the many visitors which we hope will return to us in 2021”.
Minister Burke thanked all involved in welcoming him and accompanying him on a whistle stop tour of the City in such a short time. He was delighted to see many initiatives undertaken and was delighted that the Government was able to provide funding to the Council to co fund the improvements and the many capital projects that he saw while he walked. He wished all a very happy and safe Christmas and encouraged the people to support their local businesses in these very difficult times.