A good summer is what we need
WEXFORD pharmacist Ciaran Lynch from Fortune's Phamacy is looking forward to a good warm summer to lift spirits and the level of business on the main street.
But with the weather almost as depressed as the economy, there are no signs yet of sunnier days or the long-awaited green shoots of business recovery.
Fortune's, at 82 North Main Street, is one of the oldest in the town, one of only a handful of independently owned family pharmacies in Wexford.
The businesses was founded in 1947 by Michael Fortune, who was originally from Adamstown, and then run by his son Des.
Ciaran and his wife Yvonne took it over in 2004.
He says he thinks the premises used to be a hardware store, but has no historical background, so if anyone reading this knows more, Ciaran would like to hear from them.
Ciaran has strong views about the difficulties facing business and in particular pharmacies, with the Troika high on the list of villains.
'The State's hands are being tied by the Troika who are pretty much trying to dictate prices without any cognisance of the level of service being provided,' he said.
'We're citizens and taxpayers too. The sooner this outside control goes away, the better.'
He said the Irish Pharmacists Union was very active in developing patient access to enhanced pharmacy services, one of the mainstays of a modern phamarcy with things like vaccinations and health screening.
But there was a major issue with the shortage of medicines, from painkillers to anti-cancer drugs.
'We spend an inordinate amount of time sourcing medicines, far more than we should have to. But this is a global problem and we're a small market interationally and at the bottom of the supply ladder,' said Ciaran.
Asked about the opening up of the medicines market, which means some drugs are now cheaper, Ciaran said that competition was a good thing as long as it didn't compromise the level of service.
'We are locally owned and managed and have a long term commitment to the town and our patients.'
He said the local authority should do more to encourage shoppers into Wexford through cheaper parking. Reductions in business rates are also desirable.
Ciaran said that despite all the problems, he remained positive overall, but he said he still didn't think 'that the average man in the street realises there is a recession'.
'A good summer of sunshine is what we need, something like we have during Italia '90 and the feelgood factor that created,' he said.