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Improved facilities for Farmers’ Market

FACILITIES for traders at the Farmers’ Market are set to be amped up. At this week’s meeting of Ennis Town Council, it was confirmed that following calls by traders, work is underway on the planning and designing of electrical connections for use by traders on market days.
Leonard Cleary, town clerk, described this as “a significant piece of infrastructure”, which could take up to 12 months to complete.
It has been proposed that traders in the Farmers’ Market would pay an annual fee of €3,500 as a group to the local authority. This figure includes €500 to cover the cost of the ESB connection.
The meeting was told the new casual trading bylaws adopted by Ennis Town Council have come into full effect following the withdrawal of an appeal to the bylaws at the district court last month.
As part of the adopted casual trading bylaws, all traders, including the Farmers’ Market, are required to purchase an annual casual trading licence. Up to now, the Farmers’ Market has operated as a co-operative in the Garraunakilla area and paid a group rate of €600 annually.
Under the new bylaws, 16 trading bays were allocated to the farmers’ market with an annual cost of €660 for each individual trader. However, the Farmers’ Market submitted observations to the council and requested that matters be reviewed.
According to the Farmers’ Market, the new annual fee was too high when compared with the previous cost of €600 a year for the group. They outlined that this adopted fee would effectively mean the end of the Farmers’ Market if implemented by the council. The Farmers’ Market trade for half days only. The traders also called for 23 trading bays, seven more than what was provided for.
According to Mr Cleary, the Farmers’ Market, which operates as a cooperative, offered to pay €3,500 as a group and the local authority executive have recommended this.
“However, individual licences will be issued and each trader will be assigned a specific bay but flexibility will be allowed in the sharing of spaces based on seasonal produce. This is specific to the Garraunakilla area only,” added Mr Cleary.
The Farmers’ Market have also indicated that they do not wish to trade on Saturdays, which was provided for in the new bylaws, so it is proposed that the trading bays in the Garraunakilla area will be available to casual traders on Saturdays. The Farmers’ Market have also requested that there be no increase in the fee proposed for at least five years.
Councillor Brian Meaney praised the ongoing communication between the Farmers’ Market and the town council in working towards improving the market.
“Following this process hopefully this will become a more vibrant market,” he said. Councillor Johnny Flynn asked if it was possible for the designated trading areas to be used for car parking on Saturdays if not needed for the market. He described the market as a “very important facility” for the town.
The meeting was told any casual trading bays not being used by traders by 10am can be used for car parking. Councillor Frankie Neylon asked if vehicles parked in trading bays would be towed away. He was told this is not the case and that endeavours would be made to find the owner of the vehicle.

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