Councillors fear market losing its artisan feel

The number of stalls at the Galway continental market held by multinational operators is proving to be a bone of contention for Galway City Council.

German retailer Lidl holds a whopping 11 stands at this year’s Christmas market. Speaking at this week’s council meeting, representatives expressed their dissatisfaction with this and outlined how it was always the plan that the Eyre Square market would sell crafts and artisan foods.

Councillor Padraig Coneely voiced his displeasure that he had submitted a number of queries relating to costing of the market to council officials and was still awaiting reply. He also expressed concern about the 11 Lidl stalls and said he didn’t think this was what the market should be about.

City CEO Brendan McGrath said he was unhappy with the number of stalls held by Lidl, which had not been revealed to the council prior to the market opening. He outlined that he had raised the issue separately with the City Centre Traders Association and the promoters of the market. Mr McGrath said that it was contrary to a policy about multinationals using Eyre Square which councillors themselves had adopted.

Fine Gael councillor Pearce Flannery proposed that in future, market traders would only be allowed to hold a stand if they came from the West of Ireland to keep it in line with an indinigeous, artisan feel. This suggestion was rubbished as being at complete odds with the idea of it being a continental market. Brendan McGrath said the council wanted the market to be about crafts and artisan foods and to have a continental feel and he believed the promoters would agree this was the ethos of the venture.

Fianna Fail councillor Michael Crowe said he was tired of people criticising the operators. ‘’It’s fair to say that last year’s figures were excellent and the market adds value to the city.’’

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