Niall Mulrine

Technology: Make this Christmas for local trade and employment

The Donegal News Shop Local campaign was launched this week by (from left): Columba Gill, editor, Donegal News, Cllr Michael McBride, Mayor of Letterkenny Municipal District and Gerard Grant, president, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce.

The Donegal News Shop Local campaign was launched this week by (from left): Columba Gill, editor, Donegal News, Cllr Michael McBride, Mayor of Letterkenny Municipal District and Gerard Grant, president, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce.

WHAT has local Christmas shopping go to do with technology? A strange title of an article for an IT writer??? Well, it boils down to how fast the World is moving and yet how slow we are to react to our impulses. Technology brought the hope of an easier life.

Jobs will be done in half the time with all this new machinery and we will get more work with better systems in place. All these thoughts are true, the idea of getting better work done can be viewed differently depending on the employer or company the discussion is brought up in. For example a kitchen making company like Cherrymore Kitchens based locally and nationally, when started would more than likely being manpower than machine power.


A salesman maybe one day could of came in and said we can increase your productivity by 300% by purchasing this great machine, all bells and whistles latest in technology. “You won’t know yourself with it”. Sound familiar? In this instance the technology probably changed their processes and increased output. But for a different business possibly Proper Price Toymaster, based in Donegal Town, online retail toy stores are the ruination of local businesses against a large competitor such as Smyth’s Toys who have both online and offline stores.

Local Business Group Stronghold passed €4 Million locally in 3 years
Recently, I attended a BNI boost meeting in Donegal Town, the chapter called Stronghold, who celebrated €4 million worth of business via referrals locally since 2011 was given a presentation by area director Derek Reilly and he mentioned some differences between small local retail and large multinational retail stores. Some of the chapter members mentioned if not for BNI, they would not of expanded their business, taken on more staff or expanded product range. One of the most notable points were that where does the money go we spend in the multinational companies?

Most companies HQ are based in other countries so that money goes up the line via one local HQ to another. When people buy weekly groceries in Tesco, some of the money does get to stay locally, with rent, staff, etc but bulk of profit goes out of the county and country. Whereby, when money is spend in a local retail outlet such as Kavanaghs SuperValu, more of the money gets to stay locally as lots of products are bought from possible local producers such as O’Donnells Bakery, Albatross Seafoods, Quinn Fuels and lots more.

All these local producers in turn will spend their profits and raw materials locally to promote local shopping also. Back in the days of basic shopping, bartering of local produce and service was an ideal way to keep everyone and their families fed and clothed. Derek Reilly also mentioned, Co. Clare was one of the counties that did not get affected by the recent recession as they went back to their roots when the bubble burst and held to the concept of local trading. This indeed kept them all afloat and above the line of survival.

The big Yellow Directory is replaced by WWW
Off course, we cannot get everything we want locally and which is why we look further away for other products. In the opposite polar effect, we have been upgraded from a Yellow Pages phone book for sourcing national suppliers to a World Wide Web of 24/7 suppliers. Bill Gates envisaged a computer that his mother could use be in every house in the World but still be in a company larger that his dad’s law firm. He succeeded in this that if there is not at least 1 computer in a house now, there could be up to 11 internet connected devices. We can now research products, compare their benefits and also get feedback from people around the World we do not know, but we will take their word on it if they gave recommendation on a product. Again, this is an explosion of how things have been done on local basis, word of mouth, catalogues in shops or mail, but we don’t get to touch, smell or feel the product until we buy it. This is a one up for the local supplier! Not forgetting the opportunity maybe to haggle!!!!

Enjoy the local buzz of Christmas
I am sure there are more stories to this effect globally in history, but bottom line seems to be look out for one another locally and keep shopping locally and buy Irish where possible. So, this Christmas I hope everyone thinks about where their hard earned money goes before clicking on an online button. I will try keep abreast of this myself and be more conscious. Importantly, have a great Christmas run up.I would like to hear if you agree or disagree with these thoughts, by emailing

To catch up on any missed articles written by Niall Mulrine of Pc Clean, go to and


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