When Feargal Quinn founded his supermarket company on Clanbrassil Street in 1960 it was a major revolution in Irish retailing (see page 5).
It was the first supermarket in the town and the first in the country. Dundalk goalkeeper Christy Barron worked in the butcher’s shop at the back of the bright modern store which became a major attraction. At that time Clanbrassil Street was the retail centre of the town.
While Feargal Quinn went on to built a 24-store chain which he sold in 2005 for €450 million, Clanbrassil Street sadly went into decline. like high streets all over Europe.
Online shopping and the emergence of shopping centres on the outskirts of towns has of course led to the decline of the high street.
One idea - the first of its kind in the country to try and revive a town centre - was started here in Dundalk a few years ago.
The Business Incentive Development Scheme (BIDS) company was set up try and improve the economic life of the town. Supported by the commercial ratepayers of Dundalk, Dundalk Town Council, and Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, it has been trying to find new hope for the high street, something no other town in Ireland or the UK has tried to do.
The company was dissolved in May because its accounts were not in order. That has now been rectified. But Cllr Sean Bellew was right to bring this point to the town council’s attention. BIDS may or may not have a future. It may or may not be viable. But credit to all parties involved for trying to do something for the town.