The Galway Continental Christmas Market will not go ahead this year, it has been confirmed by the Galway City Council.
Now in its 11th year, the event which attracted more than 650,000 to the city in 2019, was due to open on Friday November 13 and run until December 20.
However, following the publication of the Government's Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with Covid-19 framework, the local authority has decided to cancel all activities and events in Eyre Square in the interests of public health.
In a statement released yesterday, a spokesperson for the local authority said they understand this news will come as a disappointment to the general public, event producers, and traders as well as the local businesses.
"Galway City Council would like to acknowledge efforts of the various event producers in adjusting their plans to comply with the latest and changing guidelines. However, Galway City Council has decided that in the interests of public health, there will be no organised events in Eyre Square for the foreseeable future.
'We need to find ways of supporting local businesses at the same level, both online and in person, while adhering to recommendations' - Kenny Deery, Galway Chamber
"Galway City Council is committed to delivering a safe, socially distant Christmas experience in Galway this year and we are currently working with Fáilte Ireland on developing this concept. Galway City Council will also fully fund the city Christmas lights for 2020 and is working to ensure that Galway is an attractive and safe place to live, work and visit during the Christmas period.
The statement concluded by saying the council "hopes to welcome, as soon as is safe and possible, events back to Eyre Square in 2021."
CEO of the Galway Chamber Kenneth Deery said the cancellation of the Christmas market was hugely disappointing for all in Galway.
He said; "The market brought a magic to the city centre [and] vital income for traders and the hospitality industry. However, Galway is not alone in having to embrace that it is not happening on health grounds this year.
"We need to find ways of supporting local businesses at the same level, both online and in person, while adhering to recommendations."
Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley took to Twitter to call on the local authority to discuss other options to offer people in the festive period when they next meet at the council meeting on Monday in Leisureland.
He said; "Disappointing day for all in Galway at the news that the Christmas Market and the Comedy Festival aren't going ahead this year due to Covid. I hope we can discuss this topic at our council meeting next Monday and talk what we can run instead to offer some hope to people."
The Vodafone Comedy Carnival Festival announced in late September it would not be running due to the ongoing pandemic.