The proactive tone of Mullingar’s traders’ meeting on Monday night was set by an inspiring speech from Millie Walsh who declared that “people love shopping in Mullingar”.
He was first to speak, and read from a carefully thought-out list of proposals and suggestions to promote the town he clearly loves and received a rousing round of supportive applause.
· Chamber vouchers shouldn’t be just for Christmas.
· The Joe Dolan Festival is “the most valuable tool in the to
wn” as he is “the Elvis Presley of this country”.
· More use of the canal amenity for small boats and the large boats will follow.
· Banners to welcome and thank customers as “everyone’s custom is very much valued to all of us”.
· Improve the image of the town by dealing with vandalism and thefts from cars at cemeteries and other locations.
· Promote the equestrian centre at Rathcolman as it’s “a second Millstreet – and we all know where Millstreet is”.
· Acknowledge that families of people who attend Ballinderry Hospital will spend the day in the town and use that to Mullingar’s advantage.
Ronan Byrne, general manager of the Bloomfield House hotel complimented the lighting and streetscape in Abbeyleix, Laois and said something similar would benefit Mullingar.
But he also had a list of suggestions for the town he’s grown to love since he moved here three years ago
· Run a TV ad.
· Contact Michael O’Leary, a passionate Mullingar man to see if he’d promote the town in Ryanair’s in-flight magazine.
· Use the collective skills of professional marketing staff at Mullingar’s hotels to support an independent marketing committee.
Jeweller Des Walsh asked for Midlands Gateway to do more for Mullingar - not just make it a gateway to Athlone and Tullamore.
And he asked for clarity about a 15-minute grace period for parking.
There were other suggestions from the floor:
· Ask Youtube to deal with excessive negative videos about Mullingar.
· Develop a Hall of Fame of famous Mullingar natives.
· Build a public toilet.
· Change the time on the clock in Market Square.
· Have a Mullingar “currency” to keep spend in the town.
· Engage the Mullingar diaspora.
· Harness the energy of residents’ associations.