By Tipperary Times Editor, Paddy Ryan
In early December, we saw over 100 jobs lost in SuperValu Clonmel and Carlow. It was all the more shocking considering both shops were based in once buzzing town centers, the very town centers which are dying in front of our very eyes.
Political opportunists have latched onto the death of these once thriving economic hubs but poor town planning and consumers love affair with budget brands have squeezed the local retailer out of existence.
Aldi and Lidl now have a foothold in the Supermarket space in Ireland which is growing every year. Larger chains such as Dunnes Stores and Tesco have been criticised for their treatment of employees while also teaming up to reduce food prices paid to primary producers.
But what does this mean in practical terms? Lets first look at the suppliers. Farmers around Tipperary and Ireland work under some of the most stringent and strict guidelines in the world. While the knock-on effect of this is we produce some of the worlds best food, unfortunately the profits are not trickling down to the farmers. This year has seen Dairy Farmers produce milk at a loss. Our multinationals such as Tesco are bulk-buying milk in what is turning out to be a race to the bottom for who can sell the cheapest milk per litre. The issue is the dairy companies and producers such as Glanbia are not taking the hit, it is the farmer who produces the milk who ends up losing house and home.
Beef farmers also have some of the best animal welfare practices in the world with the most traceable and top quality beef in the world. Widely acknowledged as the greatest export Ireland has to offer, our grass fed beef is also healthier than corn fed beef coming from Europe or the America’s where their callous treatment of livestock is nothing short of deplorable. Beef farmers are on their knees as the influx of cheaper sub standard beef into our supermarkets is undercut and already struggling beef sector.
What do we do about this, we simply choose the cheapest product from the cheapest multi-national instead of going to a local butcher who knows the farmer and can stand over the quality of the meat they are selling.
But it is not only farmers and our local butchers who are closing. We buy a wide range of products at rock bottom prices rather than supporting our local businesses. It is these large supermarket chains which are proving to be the Grim Reaper for the Irish Economy and our support of these chains is not the fault of Government, but our own pursuit of that we perceive to be a bargin. Small corner shops in villages, once a meeting place for elderly and young alike are closing around the country as we are continually choosing to support various multinationals ahead of local traders.
When you are picking something up in a shop, consider spending that little more as the local job you support will be the job which will support you