Businesses in Castlebar must be confident about their own offering and not worry about competition from neighbouring towns. This was the message of Wilson Bird, PRO of Castlebar Chamber of Commerce, speaking at an open forum discussion last week during which Castlebar town manager Seamus Granahan provided a progress report on developments in the county town.
Introducing himself as a Limerick man who had moved from Clifden to Castlebar, where he is now general manager of Breaffy House Resort, Mr Bird said: “I moved here with my wife and our two children last year and we find Castlebar is a great place to live and enjoy. Everyone was saying when I came here that Westport was getting everything and not Castlebar, but what I discovered about Westport is that what they do well is talk together well. The hotel operators in Westport meet every week for constant updates. Everyone thinks it’s all done by Michael Ring TD but it’s not. It’s all down to the hoteliers. They know everything about their business, down to the price of parsnips, and that’s what we need to do here.
“So networking is essential because we have some very positive things in Castlebar that people don't see. Throughout this year the chamber will be bringing some key people to the town with some good stories to tell. We hope to hold six of these public events through the year, at different bars of business people in the town, and then finish off with a major conference before the year end. It will be all about business and how we can get Castlebar and Mayo moving.
“The reality is, our hotels are not maximising the potential there is out there for business, from key facilities such as Knock Airport.”
Caroline Gordon, vice president of Castlebar Chamber, added that the chamber was certainly open for business.
“We are looking for businesses and new members and deals have never been better – our membership is down now from €250 to just €150 for an annual subscription – and is a tax deductible expense.”