One on One: Seamus Butler

Conor Neville talks to Chairman of Longford Chamber of Commerce, Seamus Butler, about the local economy and the importance of this week’s referendum.

Mr Butler said that he preferred to regard the amount of vacant units around Longford Town as a challenge rather than a reason to throw one’s hands up in the air. The local businessman, who was one of the driving forces behind the hugely successful Expo at the weekend, stated one could choose to despair at the situation but that he much preferred to be “in the camp that said what are we going to do about it.” He was cautiously optimistic about the prospects of recovery in the near future, saying he believed that businesses that are still operating have probably survived the worst of it. He highlighted the difficulty of attaining finance as still the single biggest problem hampering business around the country.

The former Fianna Fail councillor was critical of the government’s performance, describing their handling of issues such as the household and septic tank charges as “inept”, stating somewhat ruefully that Fianna Fail would certainly have received more heat for such errors.

However, he was even more critical of the ‘hard left’, characterising them as people “who just say ‘no’ to everything”, and arguing that they “should just be ignored.”