Killybegs Chamber office to close
by sue doherty
The office operated by Killybegs and District Chamber of Commerce on St Catherine's Road will close from this Friday.
Chamber President Noel O'Donnell told the Democrat yesterday the decision had be taken due to financial constraints."Our funding is very limited, as we have a relatively small membership base. Since our FAS funding ceased in 2009, it has become increasing difficult to maintain a full office, with all the associated overheads," he said.
"I'm personally disappointed that, with 125 shops participating in our Shop South West Donegal vouchers scheme, more didn't support the work of the Chamber by either becoming members or helping in some way. If more had, it might have been possible to keep the office open.
"The voucher scheme itself has been a huge success this year, in addition to the other important services we provide for the local business community.
"However, we will continue to provide a full range of services to our members on an outreach basis. We have obtained the use of an office in Killybegs for our monthly meetings and any other meetings that may be required from time to time. Our Training and Development Manager Isabel Shovlin will still be on hand, as well, providing professional support to our members."
Killybegs and Distrcit Chamber of Commerce was set up in 2004 by local business people and initially run on a purely voluntary basis.
Then, in 2006, after negotiations with Paddy Crowley of FS, the Chamber successfully applied for funding support for a three-year pilot project under the CDP programme. Isobel explains: "The objective for FS was to provide training to upskill people who were already in employment. They set a target of 1,000 training days per year for three years. In two and a half years, we achieved in excess of 5,000 training days. During that time, FS funded wages and the running costs for the office.
"At the end of 2009, this funding ceased. Since then, we've had to rely on our membership and now the committee have decided that, in order to allow the Chamber to continue to exist, it is necessary to trim costs.
"The office will close at the end of this week, but we will certainly continue to be very active, providing a full range of support services to our members.
"In addition to the Shop SWD voucher scheme, which really went well this year, the Chamber also produces a Festival and Events Guide each year, maintain the website (www.killybegsdistrictchamber.com) and lobby on important issues such as rates reinstating border inspection status for Killybegs.
"We believe that when times are as tough as they are, we all need that competitive edge more than ever. We'll still be working hard toward that objective, even if you don't see us in the office."