Farmers’ Market says current site ‘unsuitable’

THE CASUAL traders of Kilkenny Farmers’ Market have renewed their calls for the location of the market to be moved out into the central area of the Parade.

THE CASUAL traders of Kilkenny Farmers’ Market have renewed their calls for the location of the market to be moved out into the central area of the Parade.

Helen Finnegan, on behalf of the Kilkenny Farmers’ Market, has said that the current location on the east side of the Parade along the gravel walk, is unsuitable. Two years ago, at the completion of the Parade revamp project, traders had specifically requested not to be moved back to the gravel walk area.

At a recent meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council, the members discussed the city’s current casual trading bye laws, which govern such issues. The council is in the process of updating the laws, addressing issues such as stall sizes and one-off licences for certain festivals.

In November of last year, submissions were invited from both the public and traders. Two submissions were received – one from a representative of the traders and another from an individual trader.

The traders say that the area is too far away from the main thoroughfair of the town, lacks visibility, is difficult to keep clean, and even poses a health and safety risk. In a letter to the council, Ms Finnegan says that many of the stalls are difficult to erect on the gravel surface, and manoevrability is a challenge.

She also says that the businesses at the market employ over 60 people between them, and that this has the capacity to grow if it receives adequate support from the local authorities.

Town Clerk Brian Tyrrell said that the existing designated trading area is serviced by electricity and water. While not all traders require these, to relocate to the central area would require some degree of works.

A number of councillors, including Martin Brett (FG) and Sean O’ hArgain (Labour) called for the issue to be referred to the Municipal Policy Committee. Councillor Malcolm Noonan said that it was incumbent on the council to work with traders to find a solution.

“The traders feel that a move onto the Parade centre would give them more visibility,” he said.

“Market days in other towns are considered to be a benefit to the whole area. I would urge that we try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Cllr O’ hArgain said that the market in its current set up was very successful, but that a Saturday morning opening should be added. At present, the market takes place on Thursdays.

“I think we need as full a debate as possible on this,” he said.

“I also think it is a shame that the market is confined to a week day because it means that a lot of working people cannot access it. There would be a demand there for an a different day also.”

The former Mayor Cllr David Fitzgerald, who chaired the meeting, said that he welcomed the discussion on the market’s location.

“It is an appropriate time to review how this functions,” he said.

“We have the potential to create a unified brand, image or look in the use of the Parade. We need to pull together the various groups to have a unified purpose here.”