Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business, Neale Richmond, has welcomed the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) Ireland’s Retail Economy 2022, a new thematic publication showing the strength of the Irish retail sector.
Commenting on the publication, Minister Richmond said, “the data from the CSO clearly demonstrates the importance of retail for our economy with an overall contribution of €38.8 billion. In 2020 the Retail Trade had a total of 23,709 active enterprises with 225,000 persons engaged. These figures display the strength of Ireland’s retail sector, the largest private sector employee in the state.”
“A thriving retail sector is vital to our economy and supports our wider enterprise policy. With SMEs comprising 99.7% of all enterprises in the retail trade in 2020, their success is a priority for government. It is timely that we are reminded of the strength of the sector as I look forward to chairing my first meeting of the Retail Forum, where the challenges and opportunities facing the sector are discussed.”
The Retail Forum was established in June 2014 and comprises of 35 members representing retail at all levels as well as relevant government departments and agencies. The forum, which meets quarterly, enables members to discuss key issues of relevance to the retail sector and to identify practical actions to be taken to assist the sector.
Speaking ahead of the 30th meeting of the forum, Minister Richmond said, “it is an honour to chair my first Retail Forum meeting today and meet representatives from across the retail sector and value chain. The forum has an ambitious work programme and I look forward to leading on this. As we have been reminded by the latest CSO figures, retail is a hugely important sector to the Irish economy and I want to work closely with its members to ensure it can continue to provide sustainable employment.”
“The sector has proven its resilience through the crises of Brexit and COVID-19, and now faces the challenge of rising energy costs as well as the safety and security of retail workers. In Budget 2023 the government committed to the recruitment of 1,000 additional Gardaí and this will be key to not just helping to protect our retail workers but to building stronger, safer communities. Government is ready and willing to engage with the sector and provide support where we can. I look forward to continuing my engagement with the Retail Forum and the wider sector in the coming time.”