As an avalanche of business closures strikes towns across Donegal, the best of local community spirit is beginning to shine through.
One such town is Carndonagh in Inishowen, where the Carndonagh Traders Association has united to support everyone as best they can.
Almost 50 businesses have temporarily closed their doors in recent days to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Other businesses which must remain open are gaining support on necessary precautions.
‘Together we can beat this!’ is the mantra of the town, and businesses that have closed are now turning their attention to helping people in isolation.
Deirdre Bradley, Chairperson of the Carndonagh Traders Association, said the mass closures are for the good of the community.
Speaking from her closed clothing store on The Diamond, she told Donegal Daily: “It’s so sad to see all the shutters down in the town, but we are all working together.
“At the end of the day this is about keeping customers safe.”
The Carndonagh Traders Association was established in May 2018 as the town looked forward to the Irish Open at Ballyliffin. It currently has 78 members and a newly opened office. Now in challenging times, the shared support is needed more than ever.
“Thank god we have this because we don’t feel so alone,” one member told Ms Bradley this week.
Ms Bradley said: “As soon as the closures started to kick in the association was brilliant. We got the banks to put up information, we got in touch with Revenue and Social Welfare and they were all more than helpful in sending numbers and information on forms.”
The town, like many others, stands to be greatly affected by the sudden downturn.
“It’s going to be very difficult for us. This should have been the week we all got a lift, with St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day coming up. We were all stocking up for those occasions but we have to put it behind us now. Because we are all closed we are thinking about how we can help the community and so many are offering to do deliveries for the elderly,” Ms Bradley said.
The camaraderie and support will be what gets the town through the trying times, Ms Bradley said, and every closure and precaution is taken for the right reason.
“Every town will be hit in the same way. But I know some good will come out of this. People will rally round, there will be sickness, and God forbid there will be deaths, but if the right measures are taken we are hoping that’s going to be minimal.”
Businesses in Carndonagh are also taking this time to carry out deep cleans of their premises and do maintenance work ahead of reopening. When they open their doors again, the idea of ‘Shop Local’ will never be more important.
Ms Bradley and the committee will be encouraging all local residents to support local businesses as a way of showing their appreciation for the difficult decisions made now.
She said: “We are calling to people, when they can, to please support the people who tried to keep us safe. The florists, the shops, the teams in the supermarkets and chemists who are all doing a fantastic job. The next time you go out, don’t head past their doors and travel to a shop somewhere else. I do think people will remember this.”
In the meantime, the Carndonagh Traders Association is offering support to all members should they need to get in touch. The office is closed to the public, but the phone lines are open every day.
“If anybody needs to call, get forms printed or get computer work done, please contact any of us with queries or questions,” Ms Bradley said.
The Visit Carndonagh Office number is : (074) 937 4288