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Bye-laws needed to ‘put manners’ on casual traders

April 16th, 2024 8:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Bye-laws needed to ‘put manners’ on casual traders Image
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said the situation was an ‘absolute shambles’. (Photo: Martin Walsh)

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‘THERE are some people down in West Cork who think they have every right to be doing what they are doing and they won’t change until they are told what the law is.’

That was the comment of Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) recently, during a discussion about what members believe is Cork County Council’s lack of suitable bye-laws.

Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) was seeking an update on the casual trading bye-laws at a recent Council meeting and pointed out she raised this issue in her first meeting, in 2019.

She said generators owned by casual traders are already ‘going like jackhammers’, with 20ft chipper vans blocking areas and she feels it very unfair on the residents.

‘Residents in my area have to put up with noise pollution, litter, and the blocking of their driveways and the list goes on and on,’ said Cllr Buckley.

‘I am delighted to see that the reply says that Cork County Council will allow each municipal district to come up with their bye-laws. We were told before that it couldn’t be done and if it is, will it be implemented before the summer season?’

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said they have been dealing with this since the days of town councils describing it as an ‘absolute shambles’.

‘There is no regulation at all and it’s bordering on reckless. People thing they can do what they want and this is going on the bones of 30 years,’ said Cllr Carroll.

'There are some people down in West Cork who think they have every right to be doing what they are doing and they won’t change until they are told what the law is,’ he said.Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) who seconded the motion, said it’s been on the agenda for the past 30 years and has been through the district courts too.

‘Bandon Kinsale MD has a trial run in place in Kinsale and at least it’s a start. Let’s see how it works out and carry it out countywide. It is critically important to get it over the line as we are so long waiting for it,’ said Cllr Murphy.

His colleague, Cllr Marie O’Sullivan said they need to identify casual trading bays on beaches which are safe because, she said, food trucks are parked alongside beaches and it is a huge safety issue.

Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) said it is totally unfair on ratepayers in the towns who can have chip vans parked next to their premises and he queried the liability issue for the Council in the event of an accident with a food truck in one of their parks.

Cllr Jack White (FG) said it has to become a urgent priority.

‘We need to make sure our house is in order from a legal basis,’ said Cllr White.

Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said it’s very disappointing that no bye-laws will be in place for this summer and described the current situation as a ‘free for all’.

‘We need to get this regulated and up and running. We also need to get some income from it as we are giving traders prime locations and spots and they’re not paying anything for it,’ said Cllr McGrath.

Councillors were told that a mapping exercise for each municipal district to capture information to inform and support the drafting of these bye-laws is ongoing. Bandon Kinsale, Carrigaline, Macroom and West Cork are ready for review and sign off. Once mapping has been agreed and signed off, each municipal district will seek to progress the drafting of appropriate bye-laws.

Divisional manager Michael Lynch said it is a priority but admitted it is complex. ‘That’s not to say it shouldn’t be advanced and it will be, and we will get this put on a development committee agenda,’ he said.

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