“I opened Bakersville on the Church Lane 20 years ago and it was the busiest cafe in the town, but now I seem to be fighting against the grain to stay open.”
“I am very, very angry about what is happening. To be honest, my rates are due to the Council and I am considering refusing to pay them.”
He also claimed that recent regeneration works of Letterkenny’s Main Street had a serious negative impact on his business.
“My business is easily down 50 per cent on when I first started. The Town Council spent one million euro on works to the Main Street that no one wanted and they completely ignored the Church Lane and used it as a base for their machinery. This effectively closed down my business for one month.”
“And before that, there has been so much messing about with the Church Lane, it has been dug up three times when they were installing broadband. There are just a whole catalogue of things which have been working against my business.
He continued: “I had been promised that the Church Lane would be done up. In fact if you look at the previous Town Plan, it shows that works were going to be done to enhance the Church Lane, but none of this has come to fruition.”
“I just don’t understand why the Church Lane has been so ignored by the Town Council, it’s almost as if they wanted to put me out of business.”
Mr Keeney said it is a “crying shame” that this area, leading to Letterkenny’s main tourist attraction, St Eunan’s Cathedral, has been allowed to get into such a state of disrepair.
“So much work has been done to enhance the area around the Cathedral, yet the main approach road to it, the Church Lane, has been allowed to get so run-down. I don’t think it would take much to make a big difference to the area.”
Mr Keeney said that over recent weeks he was strongly considering the prospect of closing the long-established cafe, but has decided to remain in business after pleas from his loyal customers.
“At one time I had the busiest cafe in the town. Bakersville has been here for 20 years, it is part of Letterkenny. I had considered closing the doors but to be honest, the reason I haven’t is because so many people asked me not to.”
“I am so thankful to all my customers who have remained loyal to me and particularly, at this time, I cannot thank them enough for all the support I am getting.”
He concluded: “Despite the challenges, we are open for business and we need every customer we can get and hopefully we will be able to remain open.”