FARMER, Social Democrat and election candidate, Cllr Holly Cairns, believes Bantry Market has got worse since it came under the jurisdiction of Cork County Council.
The subject arose at the annual budget meeting of the West Cork Municipal District, where it emerged that the Council spent €84,000 on the market in 2019.
The municipal officer, Justin England, explained that the cost covers the setting up of the weekly Friday market, as well as maintenance, administration, and the manager’s salary.
But he said the figure could be offset by the fact that it yielded an income of €36,000.
Cllr Cairns suggested that Skibbereen, as a self-regulating market, was a better model, but Mac Dara O h-Icí, a senior executive officer with Cork County Council, said the local authority has to comply with the Casual Trading laws regulating the Bantry market.
Cllr Cairns said she believed the application of the casual trading by-laws in Bantry has made the market there worse.
But Mr O h-Icí insisted: ‘Where there is a history of market rights they are entitled to trade, but they must do so under the by-laws.’
Cllr Cairns said she would not be in favour of any regulations being introduced to the weekly market in Skibbereen, but Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) was of the opinion that markets have to be regulated and ‘the Council has to play their part.’
He said: ‘Skibbereen is very well run, but I believe that there are people going in there every Saturday that don’t pay anything.’
Cllr Cairns said the Saturday market in Skibbereen is attracting huge business to the town and that if it is regulated all that will be left are the type of big businesses that already sell to supermarkets and the natural diversity of the market would be lost.