Pictured are Chief Executive (of Cork County Council) Tim Lucey and County Mayor Seamus McGrath as they launch Cork County Council's 'Think Cork County' initiative in support of local businesses in over 30 county towns ahead of the festive season. (Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision)

by Eoin Scanlon and Ann O’Donoghue

Cork County Council is rolling out a festive campaign supporting local businesses across the county, offering free parking in all County Council car parks for the month of December.

The council is taking the lead this Christmas by encouraging support for local businesses and retailers in towns throughout Cork County.

The initiative was announced last week by County Mayor Seamus McGrath and Chief Executive Tim Lucey who are calling on people to support local businesses in the run up to Christmas.

Keen to back up their campaign with a tangible support Cork County Council is offering free parking in county council operated car parks as well as certain designated on-street areas for the month of December as an added incentive to think about your town when choosing where to spend throughout the festive season. The free parking initiative will be available in towns including Fermoy and Mitchelstown.

In Fermoy the Upper Kevin Barry Hill car park, Library car park, Mart car park and Mill Island car park will be free from December 1 to January 2. The usual on street time limits will apply. Parking in the Square in Mitchelstown will also be free with the usual restrictions applying.

The ‘trickle down effect’ when you support local business people is that they in turn use local services such as accountants, insurance brokers and suppliers as well as tending to employ people who live nearby. These local businesses also tend to stock a higher percentage of locally produced goods. Every €10 spent locally on Irish products generates €24 of benefit to the local community.

This year Cork County Council will also be actively promoting the switching on ceremonies of Christmas lights in towns across the county. Cork County Council has also set up social media platforms @ThinkCorkCounty on Facebook and Twitter where you can find frequent updates, local offers, festive news from your local town, all aimed at further promoting the message of shopping locally and supporting service providers in your town.