As Brexit and the drop in the value of sterling threaten to hit Dundalk retailers in the run up to Christmas, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce has launched a counter attack.
Shop Local Gift Vouchers has been set up the chamber to get people to shop local this Christmas and support local jobs.
Their slogan is: “Support your team, support your town, give Shop Local Gift Vouchers this Christmas”.
And despite concerns about people going to Newry to shop, the vouchers have proved successful.
“With over €270,000 sold to date, they have been a resounding success,” said chamber president Michael Gaynor.
“These vouchers help to keep money in the local economy and help protect local jobs. The plan is to grow sales even more for the remainder of the year.”
There are now 207 local shops and businesses redeeming these vouchers. They can be spent in restaurants, hair salons, gift stores, gyms, beautician, clothes shops, gyms and much more.
They come in denominations of €5, €10, €20 and €50 and are also ideal gift for occasions such as weddings, birthdays, retirements, anniversaries and staff rewards. The person who receives the voucher is given the gift of choice of where they can redeem them. Michael would also encourage local companies to buy these vouchers for their staff this Christmas as their bonus.
Employers can save 56 per cent on staff rewards by giving employees a Shop Local Gift Voucher instead of cash. This will help keep money local.
“Businesses can reward their staff with a €500 tax free payment,” said Michael. “You are entitled to give one each and every year.
“Under the Small Benefits Exemption Scheme, company directors and employees can receive a non-cash bonus of up to €500 in value on a completely tax free basis each year and he would encourage all employers to but this voucher for the town as you will be spoilt for choice where you can spend them”
“As the payment must be in a non-cash form, the most common way to avail of this scheme is by purchasing gift vouchers.
“By buying the “Shop Local Gift Vouchers” not only can you save money by taking advantage of the Government Small Benefit Exemption Scheme but it is also a fully deductible business expense for your company.
“If you haven’t availed of the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme so far in 2016, you can do so before 31 December and use Shop Local Gift Vouchers for this.
“By buying these vouchers you are keeping local jobs in Dundalk, jobs where family and friends are employed. These are helping Dundalk retailers to stay in business, and assist with the revitalising our town,” said Michael.
If you want to buy vouchers you can purchase online on www.dundalk.ie/vouchers or directly from the Dundalk Chamber Offices by calling Tel: 042 9336343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org To check out the full list of who are redeeming the Shop Local Gift Vouchers visit http://www.shoplocal.
Meanwhile, local Fianna Fáil Deputy Declan Breathnach, the party's spokesperson on North South Bodies and Cross Border Co-Operation, has once again called for an all-Ireland approach to the post Brexit situation.
“The Brexit challenges facing these islands,” he said, “are far too important for nuanced stances that might be regretted if we fail to embrace the opportunities to see both the impact in the South or indeed the North but especially to minimise the trade implications by not ensuring that the communities, businesses and peoples who will feel it most along the border are listened to by all politicians regardless of our view on the wider picture, Unionist or Nationalist.”
“This issue is bigger that any one person, politician or political hue.
“The importance of facing each other, engaging in dialogue to see how we can resolve the many challenges of Brexit for all on this Island is so important”.
“With this in mind, Fianna Fáil are organising a national conference on Brexit next Saturday 12 November in the Carrickdale Hotel, Dundalk.
Admission is free but registration is necessary by emailing email@example.com.”
Deputy Breathnach said the Taoiseach, as was his right, has chosen to start this process of dialogue by holding an All Ireland Civil Dialogue on Brexit.
That forum opened last Wednesday and Deputy Breathnach said he welcomed it on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party and as spokesperson on North South Bodies and Cross Border Co-Operation.