A Longford boutique owner has vowed to continue placing a mannequin outside her premises in a bid to drum up consumer confidence despite receiving a warning about the model from the local authority. Ms Farrell, who put the mannequin outside her shop last week, was approached a few days later by a local authority traffic warden who warned her that she may face prosecution.
Ms Farrell of Aine’s in Longford town, said she couldn’t understand why businesses were not allowed to look at more inventive ways of advertising their goods in the current climate.
“It ( the mannequin) has increased my level of business immensely,” she said. “If things like flowers and vegetables can be put out, a mannequin should be allowed out too. It really has made a difference.”
Ms Farrell said the idea to add the mannequin as a form of advertising was just another means of increasing the footfall into her business.
“I just said I wanted to keep my staff employed, I had bills to pay and that I had found a new way of getting people to come through my doors,” she said.
Ms Farrell dismissed claims the mannequin was causing an obstruction to shoppers, saying: “The footpath is wide enough.”
Despite having to remove the mannequin, Ms Farrell insisted she would not be coerced into disposing of the model indefinitely in spite of the possible consequences.
“I will continue to use the mannequin even though I probably will be prosecuted. What about restaurants who are on the first floor? They need to advertise on the ground floor. I pay my rates so I can’t see what the problem is. Do we want our town to be alive or dead?” she added, pointing out that many consumers were already aggrieved at parking issues in the town.
Speaking on Monday, Longford Town Clerk Dan Rooney said local authorities like Longford Town Council had little choice in enforcing laws associated with sanwich boards and other items that are placed on public footpaths.
“This is covered by a section of the Roads Act 1993. We can remove them and if it persists we have the redress in law by taking people to court. Obviously that is not a road we want to go down, but we get complaints from the elderly, visually impaired and the Tidy Towns Association which means we are caught between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
Mr Rooney said he had no axe to grind with individual traders, saying the council was simply “doing its job” by enforcing universally held legislation.