Dallat: We can replace the fake shop fronts with real businesses if we support them
East Derry MLA John Dallat believes the mood is now right for the Assembly to step up its campaign to encourage businesses and consumers to be more aware of the benefits of supporting local industry.
“I had not realised the strength of feeling among consumers until I highlighted the fact that crisps manufactured outside Northern Ireland by an American company were being promoted in Stormont rather than Tayto which employs hundreds of people here in the North and provides a guaranteed market for many potato growers who have struggled through difficult times in the last few years.
“The response to my ‘off the cuff’ protest was overwhelming with hundreds of e-mails and phone messages from ordinary people saying they want to support businesses that are creating employment locally and are helping to slow down the advances of the multi-nationals that often create little wealth locally.
“Some supermarkets have realised the value of promoting ‘shop locally’ campaigns and I fully support that but there is a great deal more can be done to bring back life into local communities involved in a whole range of production processes particularly in foodstuffs.
“The long-term benefits of buying locally produced goods will, I believe, mean the difference between having to live with fake shop fronts in the long term or give new life to our butchers, bakers and other retail outlets that have contributed positively our local economies.
“This does not mean walling off the outside world but it does mean supporting locally owned businesses which use local resources like Tayto and give employment to local workers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on import which in themselves add to our environmental problems relating to carbon footprint and all the other problems which are caused by importing unnecessarily while equal or better products are available locally.”