Fair Comment

Arthur Morgan, SF TD, is reported by Politics.ie as criticising government decision to “change retail and planning guidelines so as to allow Swedish furniture giant IKEA open an outlet several times larger than current maximum permitted”. He raises several excellent points, one being that this is more to do with job transfer than job creation. Another is that Ireland does not need huge out of town facilities whose staff tend to be on minimum wage and that the loss of local jobs and local shops damages communities.

SF critical of decision to change guidelines for IKEA

  • Davros

    Govt defends relaxation of superstore planning rules

    I must admit, Dick Roche isn’t very convincing in the above and I agree with the RGDATA.One of his justifications is that Ikea will encourage others to set up similar operations here ? Great, more small to middle size companies go bust.More Traffic. Fine and dandy if you have a big car and can travel, not so great if you rely on public transport.

    It might be different if this was a manufacturing company, but this is about consumption, not production. So, is there any overall benefit to the ROI ?

    “However, retailers group, RGDATA said the rule changes would suck the business from small shops and create “ghost towns” around the country.

    Director general Tara Buckley added: “This is a step backwards. This is not very visionary by the minister.

    “The experience in the UK is that superstores have decimated villages and towns and one-fifth of shops have closed down.” “

  • Keith M

    “Ballymun does not need 500 minimum-wage retail jobs”. Really? Can I suggest that Morgan actually talks to the people of Ballymun before coming out with nonsense like this.

    Davros “It might be different if this was a manufacturing company, but this is about consumption, not production. So, is there any overall benefit to the ROI?” Are you serious? What is the difference about the benefits of service jobs rather than manufacturing ones except the benefits to the environment. In the era of the global economy manufacturing is increasingly going to third world countries and BRIC. Surly you have seen the decline in manufacturing in the British Isles in the last 20 years and yet economically it can be said we’ve never had it so good.

    Another benefit of the opening of this stores will be a decrease in the flood of people going to Glasgow and Warrington every weekend. http://www.rte.ie/news/2004/1122/9news/9news56_13.smil

    Finally has anyone actually read what the government actually agreed today? (It’s obvious Morgan hasn’t). The changes are NOT only fot IKEA. They are for any retail stores (except food retailers) in SPECIFIC areas only (4 designated parts of Dublin, and regional gateway town). The government has learned from the mistakes in the UK (and especially the US) regarding huge out-of-town stores and come up with a sensible solution.

  • Davros

    I think you are missing the point Keith. Job transfers.If Ikea employs 500 people and 500 people elsewhere lose their jobs because the shops in which they work are driven out of business where’s the benefit ?

  • D’Oracle

    RGDATA and the “local supermarket” oligopoly are without question the most powerful dark forces in Ireland today. Men with guns are only nuisance pissants compared with this lot.

    If the country really does want to get rid of rip-off Ireland, buy beans and the rest at fair prices and give the supermarkets of Newry back to the people of that fine town, then the massive systemic subversion of this lot has to be highlighted and broken.

    Anyone that wants to has to be free, subject only to normal planning controls, to be able to build any size of store they want to sell what they want!. Its amazing how all the great liberals , all the great champions of market forces are always silent or worse still, argue against relaxation of the obscene size limit obstacle on supermarkets size.

    The cabal have almost won the latest round in the great Irish square footage war . Lets hope however that the IKEA “furniture concession ” is a prise de conscience and that lots of other holes will soon be chiselled in this dyke until it caved.

    ALDI and Lidl have helped to prevent the entire country moving to Newry to counter the ripoff but their “lots of small stores strategy” is limited beyond the medium term.

    Any half honest half competent economist can tell any politician who is still not in the cabals pocket that the oft-touted scenario of Ireland being serviced by just three supermarkets is a unreal myth put about about by the cabal’s high-powered PR people ; in a free society economics tells dont like this market forces will arrange things otherwise!

  • D’Oracle

    Oops !

    ;Last line was meant to read …”in a free society economics tells us that if people dont like or want an outcome like this that market forces will arrange things otherwise!”

  • Davros

    D’Oracle – there are signs that there is a fight-back starting, but why wait for the damage to be done here ? People should speak out now rather than let the fox in the hen-house.

  • Ringo

    I think it appers to be a well measured move, considering the customs in Dublin have supposedly dubbed one of the ferries the ‘Ikea Express’.

    Davros –
    I don’t accept the 500 relocated jobs argument. While a significant number of people from the east coast are already Ikea customers – they are significant only because of the pilgrimage they are prepared to go on to become customers. Considering there were 80,000 new housing units created in the Republic alone in 2004 there is a much bigger potential customer base for Ikea here than already exists. The 500 figure is estimated to service the entire Irish market. Clearly the number of people who’s jobs depend on the much smaller existing Irish market in the English and Scottish stores is far less than 500.

    D’Oracle –
    Anyone that wants to has to be free, subject only to normal planning controls, to be able to build any size of store they want to sell what they want!

    This is rubbish. We happen to have a good policy here that has fostered vibrant market towns. Contrast this with the continent (France, Belgium, Spain) where the critical mass of population required to sustain any sort of town/village centre is much higher. To find a similar level of commercial activity to our towns and villages on any weekend you’d have to go bypass western continental Europe and go to North Africa.

    It is just more self loathing. If the Swedes had this restrictive policy we’ed all declare it to be the way forward and be clamouring to get the government to implement it. Now that they’ve gone one better and shown a bit of common sense and flexibility I think they deserve a bit of praise.

  • Davros

    I don’t think your logic holds up Ringo.

  • Davros

    Article on the perils of these giants.
    Shop tactics

  • Ringo

    I don’t think your logic holds up Ringo

    what bit (or any of it?);)

  • Davros

    Sorry Ringo 🙂 The bit about job relocation:)
    At the end of the day There will still be X Million spent.If It’s spent at Ikea it won’t be spent at other shops and thus retail jobs will be lost. ( There may also be local manufacturing jobs lost as I suspect that this will lead to more foreign made goods being sold )
    If this was a new factory making something not previously made in ireland, then it would be 500 new jobs.

  • Michael Turley

    The job creation versus job relocation argument is probably irrelevant in this case. As Morgan pointed out most of the jobs will probably be low skills work. In an area with a large concentrated pool of low skilled unemployed it is probably thought that even if jobs are relocated they will be moving to an area which really needs it. This developemtn in tandem with Ballymun Regeneration initiatives will be interesting in terms of following how well the theories and applications of community/urban renewal work in a fairly extreme case.

    PS If IKEA don’t alreay have a store in the Republic how will the jobs be relocated as opposed to created anyway?

  • Ringo

    Davros –

    At the end of the day There will still be X Million spent.
    I disagree. For example I have a nice shiney new house and very little furniture. I need a computer desk – but I have yet to see one that I like and is good value for money, and until then my money will remain in my pocket and my pc on a large cardboard box. If Ikea can provide me with items that I wouldn’t have bought elsewhere then your sum becomes X+y where y is the cost of these goods.

    As for local furniture manufacturers- nearly everything is imported now anyway from China, Italy or wherever. Only the craft furniture makers will survive, regardless of whether Ikea comes or not, as they are not appealing to a more exclusive niche market.

  • Davros

    Ringo- spending capacity is limited, whereas manufacturing capacity is open to expansion.
    If you need your computer desk and don’t see one , you’ll likely order one on-line. Imports. If a new Irish company was set up to make them it not only wouldn’t be an import, it would create manufacturing jobs which might even lead to exports.

    Michael T : Relocation means that if there are 500 low skill jobs provided by Ikea ( just for argument ) and 10 medium to large sized shops, each employing 50, close because of competition
    then in effect one is no better off.
    I lived in a town in England years ago. Tescos arrived, Goodbye several newsagents, butchers, greengrocers, chemists, hardware shops etc etc.
    End results- less locally owned small businesses, less choice, problems for those without cars, low paid jobs and less money staying locally.

    Let’s not forget that Ikea stock a huge range of products, not just flat-pack. It might seem like this will expand choice but the reality is that once the alternative sources go out of business one is left with what companies like Ikea and Tesco choose to offer. And companies like Tesco have been shown to be royally screwing the ROI consumer.

    Finally there’s this added in to the equation:

    Labour urges roche to clarify tax reliefs for Ikea-type development.

  • D’Oracle


    Sure there is an element of trade -off between actions to end rip-offs like “less vibrant” market towns but I for one now want the lower prices ; dont live in a market town and frankly, vibrant rustics dont put food on my table. Anyway, even they deserve a change and I reckon more than a few of them would also go for lower prices option. No one has a God given right to act as parasites on the people ; if they cant compete, let themn get jobs and make a crust in some other way. Every economic cloud has a comparitive advantage silver lining.

    Whats wrong with an organic move to larger small towns anyway. This is the 21 century and to get the benefits of expensive service overheads you need bigger settlement scales ; we all know that we cant have quality hospitals etc in every small hamlet. (Come to think of it, just do you reckon are the ingredients of a “vibrant market town” in 2005 anyway !)

    Dont get your self loathing bit ; for me, this is just a straight common sense thing -nothing else

    Hope you are right about the fight back because there’s are a lot of people out there that act as if they want want an end to rip-offs but dont seem ready to accept any collateral effects. I am ; the Irish retail sector is one of the last cobwebbed sectors needing a blast of 2005.

    The outcome cant be as bad as continued rip-offs.!

  • Davros

    D’Oracle : the bigger the outfit, the bigger the off-rips ! Once they become dominant, they can do what they like.

  • Ringo

    spending capacity is limited

    true – but you are assuming that this capacity is fully utilised. It isn’t – as my cardboard box and overflowing bank account proves. And to be honest I wouldn’t buy it online.

    I’m not disagreeing with the manufacturing vs services – but this is not the issue here.

    D’Oracle –

    The point is, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. As I said at the start I think the government is being pragmatic with its horses for courses approach.

    You can have your lower prices and I can get my top class sausages and rashers from the local butcher.

    No one has a God given right to act as parasites on the people ; if they cant compete, let themn get jobs and make a crust in some other way

    Parasites? The People? What are you on about man? Someone who sells tables and chairs in a small town is a parasite? Where does that leave massive multinationals? Are they plagues?

    And your answer is that everyone should move to the city and get what they need from massive warehouses just off a motorway.

    This is the 21 century and to get the benefits of expensive service overheads you need bigger settlement scales

    This is the 21st Century and we can live in hobbit holes if we want. Instead of our options being limited by wealth and technology as rat racers suggest – they are expanded.

    Anyway, what is the first thing people who espouse your theory do when they’ve made a pile of cash flogging what ever it is they do in your world of ‘expensive service overheads’? They get a big pad far away from their sprawling settlement and go and live in the country. Your big new world is for those that can’t afford to get out of it.