Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) launched a strategy for rural retailing at this week’s National Ploughing Championships.

The document has been created to provide guidance and motivation to stakeholders in all of Ireland’s towns and villages to work together collaboratively to design and implement a plan which will reinvigorate  towns and villages with a view to re-engaging both citizens and customers with their respective town or village.

Speaking about the strategy, REI Chief Executive David Fitzsimons said, this Rural Retailing strategy document has been devised following consultation with many progressive town centre management bodies and retailers and is intended to motivate stakeholders to come together and to take ownership of their public realm.

“Many of the ideas outlined in this document are already being applied in places such as Limerick, Letterkenny, Mullingar and Dun Laoghaire. These towns have taken the leap of faith and are now beginning to enjoy some of the rewards that come with Town Revival.  We want more towns to follow this strategy with a view to accelerating the recovery of the Retail industry across Ireland,” he said.

Launching the strategy, Minister for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan, said that as the economy gets back on track, it’s essential that we see this growth return across urban and rural Ireland in equal measures. “We need to encourage a rural revival, including the establishment of rural enterprise development zones and a small-town stimulus programme.

“This national strategy for small towns contains specific measures to ensure that we see a balanced recovery. REI has actually provided a robust framework which will help communities take the first step along the way. This is an excellent, practical and most welcome document which I strongly hope will get the attention it deserves.”