TO HITS BACK OVER SHOPPING TRIP CONTROVERSY
“We will spend our hard earned cash where and when we want”.
So said a number of residents in Mitchelstown and Knockadea who were responding to last week’s front page story in The Avondhu that outlined questions that had been raised when it was announced that TO Park was organising two buses to travel to Northern Ireland for a shopping trip.
In last week’s story, Eamonn O’Brien, who is chairman of the MBA (Mitchelstown Business Association), said nobody can stop people spending their money where and when they like, but asked that shoppers ‘first consider shopping locally’.
“All I would ask is that shoppers consider what is available in your local area and then decide if you want to support businesses in another town or, in this case, another jurisdiction.”
In response, Tom O’Flynn of TO Park said this week: “People are annoyed at the comments of Mr O’Brien. One well known lady in the town made her thoughts clear when she said to me: “We will spend our money where and when we want. We will not be dictated to”.
“If the MBA sees us as a threat to the businesses in the town I have to pose the question ‘Have they become lost, rudderless and ineffective?” Mr O’Flynn asked.
People power TO went on to invite the members of the MBA to join with TO Park for a lesson in ‘people power’.
“The biggest problem in the town right now is the lack of work. No work means no money to spend in the various shops. Organisations that would have a problem with TO Park have done little in the past to stop the haemorrhage of work for the town when everything was being closed down. What are they doing now to seek new investment in the town? Where are the results?
"Here at TO Park we run an extensive outreach programme which, with the minimum of resources, we attempt to help, support and fulfill the needs of people of all ages. Our work at this level has been recognised by the President of Ireland herself, Mary McAleese when she visited us last June,” Mr O’Flynn continued.
Pointing out the benefits to the area from TO Park, Tom O’Flynn went on: “We at TO Park love and need Mitchelstown. We held our social at The Firgrove Hotel last year with over 350 people attending; we have supplied many kings and queens of the Galtees down through the years and brought over €30,000 into the town for Tearmann Ui Chaoimh; TO Park has organised several fundraisers and raffles down through the years and all the provisions for any event or project has been purchased in the town with never a cent going outside it, likewise with building materials and labour.”
RIVAL AVIVA STADIUM
The Mitchelstown Leisure Centre committee was next in the firing line for Mr O’Flynn and TO Park: “It is a great loss to the town that, after all these years, Mitchelstown does not have a leisure centre. Give us a fraction of the money that was contributed by the people of this town and which is now lying idle in the bank and we would build you a centre to rival the Aviva Stadium. After all we managed to construct a hall fit for a president in just under two months, and all we had was €400 starting out,” Mr O’Flynn concluded.
The Avondhu contacted the MBA for a response to Mr O’Flynn’s statement but the organisation declined to comment on this occasion.
Thursday 21st October 6:32pm