Fears for future of Carrick-on-Shannon's Christmas lights

Leonie McKiernan

Reporter:

Leonie McKiernan

Fears for future of Carrick-on-Shannon's Christmas lights

Previous years Christmas lights in Carrick-on-Shannon

With the busy festive period just a few months away there is growing concern that the county town will be left in the dark for Christmas.


The costs of putting up Christmas lights is a massive undertaking each year, but this year there are insufficient funds to do so and Carrick-on-Shannon may have to forego the popular Christmas light displays of the past as a result.
Carrick Chamber has started a massive drive to try and gather support from local businesses to ensure that the County town is lit up this December.


“We are reaching out for urgent assistance from our local businesses to support the Carrick Christmas Lights this year. It is sadly the case that Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce is not in a financial position to fund the erection of the Christmas lights for 2018,” Chamber President, Colm McGrath, told the Leitrim Observer this week.


“We want to illuminate the town and continue the massive investments made over recent years in creating a vibrant Christmas atmosphere in the centre of Carrick. To give you context, our general income from membership fees is c.€27,500, versus our outgoings at €26,300 and excludes the Christmas lights. Our outgoings are day to day expenses such as office, light, heat, insurance, Chambers Ireland Membership and contributions to projects and activities such as St Patrick's Day, CCTV Project, Market Yard Roof project, etc.


“The Christmas lights on their own cost c.€13,000 per annum which is the cost of replacing equipment, erecting and dismantling the lights, unfortunately the Chamber does not have the funds to enable us to erect the lights this December as of this moment.


“We have received exceptionally low levels of donations towards the lights from the business community for the past periods 2016, 2017 and 2018. On average businesses funded about €2,000 per annum towards the cost.”
Colm points out that in 2016 the lights were funded by accumulated Chamber funds and the Town Renewal Scheme.


“In 2017 they were funded by Carrick-on-Shannon achieving two all-Ireland awards for Bank of Ireland Enterprise Town which provided €8,000 to our funds. This year there is no supplemental scheme or competition which we can enter to support the erection of the lights,” he added.


Carrick Chamber has sent a letter to all local businesses to highlight the situation and in a bid to raise the funds needed for the lights.
“We acknowledge the Chamber needs to have a long-term solution to this ongoing issue of funding the Christmas lights, in order to prevent Carrick-on-Shannon going dark for Christmas.


“We also would like to invite business owners to get involved with us and assist us in building a vibrant chamber in the future. New faces are needed and our committee and those businesses who are regular contributors at Chamber meetings, cannot do the work we do, and other projects we would desire to do, on their own,” said Colm.
Members of the public are also being asked to help raise the funds needed.


Can you help?
Can you help by organising a fundraiser or making a donation?


As a business:
- Sign up to a standing order for a sum of your choosing which you would contribute annually, to help us fund the lights for 2018 and into the future; or
- Make a 2018 contribution – via Bank Transfer or cheque to Carrick-on -Shannon Chamber of Commerce P&R Account, IBAN: IE23BOFI90
533623673152, BIC: BOFIIE2D
and Get Involved – If you are not a member, join by emailing Info@carrickonshannon.ie
All businesses who contribute will be acknowledged on the Carrick Chamber facebook page in the New Year.


As a member of public:
You can also choose to make a donation through the bank as above or perhaps you could help organise a fundraiser to help the town light up for Christmas?
Next Chamber meeting
The next meeting of Carrick Chamber will be tonight, Wednesday, October 17 and all business people are welcome to attend.

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