According to an AA Rescue survey almost 24% of Irish motorists have planned a trip to Northern Ireland to do some Christmas Shopping. With this in mind The AA is advising motorists to be careful not to overload their vehicles.
“It is clear that a great many of us drive across the border and stock up for Christmas.” says Conor Faughnan Director of Consumer Affairs at The AA. “Of course people want to save money with purse strings tight. There may be savings but remember there are costs too; a round trip from Dublin to Belfast, a round trip of 336 kilometres, is likely to cost about €49 in fuel which you should factor in.”
“From a motoring perspective the AA advises drivers not to stock up too much. Don’t forget your car has its limits and overloading the boot can cause serious damage to your axel, tyres and suspension. The last thing you want is to have to call The AA because you’re stuck on the side of the road with all your shopping.”
The majority of those who took part in the AA poll said they were going to stock up on food and alcohol for the festive season. In fact, over 53% said they would buy food and groceries and an additional 26% said they probably would. Meanwhile over 40% of those polled said they would definitely buy alcohol, while a further 24% replied probably to this question.
The survey also found that those living along the border counties are far more likely to travel the few miles across the border to make their purchases than in any other part of the county. People from Donegal rated highest, with almost 40% of those polled saying they would travel to Northern Ireland for Christmas shopping. Cavan, Louth, Monaghan and Leitrim rated highly too with 32%, 23%, 22% and 20% respectively. This is a stark comparison from those in Cork, to the south of the country where less than 2% said they would make the journey north.
“It’s probably no surprise that people in the border counties are taking advantage of their proximity but it’s still a huge loss for retailers” says Faughnan. “Retailers here face a 5.5% difference between the VAT in the Republic and Northern Ireland which is certainly a factor.”
Christmas gifts were also on the minds of those participating in the poll, with just under 40% saying they would definitely buy clothes and a further 35% said they probably would. Almost 25% said they would purchase toys in Northern Ireland and a further 26% were likely to. Perfume and makeup from Northern Ireland is also likely to appear under the tree with 22% saying they would definitely buy these and almost 25% saying they probably would. Electrical goods and consumer electronics were also popular choices with 26% saying they would definitely buy these items and 41% replying probably.
“If you are travelling north for Christmas shopping, don’t forget your AA Membership card” advises Faughnan. “There is a different number to call on the back of your card but your AA Membership is fully valid and you will receive the exact same high quality of service from our Northern Ireland colleagues as you would south of the border.”
For more details on AA Membersip click here.