ANOTHER BLOW

BALLYMONEY has been dealt yet another blow by the closure of one of the town's oldest car dealerships - Gregory Lagan Motors.

The gates of the Market Street business closed perhaps for the last time on Friday after all the vehicles on the premises were removed from the site by an outside company.

When contacted by the Times on Monday morning, Gregory Lagan confirmed the business had closed "due to financial circumstances".

He said that at present he was uncertain whether or not it would reopen in the future.

According to Mr Lagan the events of Friday came completely out of the blue.

"It came as a shock to myself," he said.

"I was going through financial difficulties but these people (the financial creditors) have, in my opinion, jumped the gun.

"At the minute I'm not bankrupt and nothing has happened.

"None of my cheques haven't been met. I can still trade if I want to."

The Lagan name has been synonymous with car sales in the Ballymoney area for several decades.

Gregory has been in business for 25 years and before him his father Frank ran a dealership at Castle Street for over 30 years.

Gregory Lagan Motors specialised in the supply and sale of European imported cars and used vehicles.

Asked if the business will reopen in the future or relocate Mr Lagan replied:

"At the minute it's too soon to say.

"I don't think they (the financial creditors) had the right to do what they have done.

"I'm currently seeking legal advice."

Gregory Lagan Motors is one of a number of businesses to have shut up shop in the area in recent months.

However the loss of such a dealership in a town renowned for the strength of its car sales market has sent shockwaves throughout the borough.

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said: "This is another casualty of the current financial climate and is another blow to employment and economic prosperity in Ballymoney.

"It's a sad tell tale sign of the economic crisis we are in and the challenges we face.

"This is another sector being hit.

"One aspect of this is that no-one knows who is going to be next.

"This also detours those perhaps considering further investment in their businesses in the town.

"It has an unsettling and destabilising effect."

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