City will pay big price if it runs market out of town

Have you ever seen anything that has gone out of style such as the kick in the arse? When I was young, it was all the rage. If you annoyed your brother, you got a kick in the arse. If you fought with your friends, you got a kick in the arse, even in the school I went to, the teachers would send the boot in the direction of your cheeks if they felt you deserved it.

The kick in the arse was never designed to injure the victim. It was instead delivered as a warning of more to come and in the great lexicon of assault, it was an icon of the time. Somewhere in the eighties and nineties, the KITA went out of style bigtime. Now, you were more likely to get your jaw broken, or your head kicked in. These days, you’ll just get insulted on Facebook. But maybe it is time for the KITA to come back into vogue, and if it does, there is surely a great demand for it to be used in Galway this week. As we go to press at teatime on Wednesday, there is intense speculation that the Christmas Wonderland fair, due to be held in Eyre Square next month, will be cancelled in an announcement to be delivered this morning. The speculation is that the backers have become disenchanted with the level of opposition they have encountered in Galway and have just had enough.

Their frustration comes as local gardai have expressed fears about rowdiness and late-night drinking if the Bier Keller is to go ahead in the midst of the fair. I wouldn’t have thought the middle of a genteel Christmas fair is where stag parties will be flocking. One would have perceived that the Bier kellar would be serving mulled wines, beers and hot chocolates to grannies and families, and not violent thugs.

The city is an open bar every night of the week. Leaving the office at midnight over the past few nights, I meet dozens and dozens of young peope carrying alcohol and consuming it openly, unchecked or unsupervised, so let’s not have the argument that a few gentle beers and mulled wines is going to lead Galway further down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Across the country last night, hundreds of familes were told that they are facing a winter without work. And every Friday evening across the country, there are hearttbroken, yes heartbroken men and women who go home and take a look at the homes they have carefully built over the past decade and fear that it will all be taken from them. They look at their chidlren and they see that the toddler eyes will probably grow up looking at a landscape in a different country. In short, they feel that they have failed themselves and failed their families.

At the centre of saving our jobs is our determination to save out local economy. This is where it starts. Not in Europe or Boston. The Christmas Fair would allow thousands of Galway people to hold on to their jobs this winter. It would give the city such an economic boost that it would reverberate on every street and not just in Eyre Square.

While not advocating violence, it is time for the kick in the arse to be delivered to those who are prevaricating on this matter, who feel inexplicably that Galway will fare better commercially if this does not go ahead.

If this goes ahead, there would be no need, and I repeat, no need for local people to leave Galway for their Christmas shopping this year. The loss of it is akin to a 200-job loss announcement, such is its value.

Before it’s too late, can someone bring both sides together, knock some skulls, kick some arses and make people see sense over a minor detail.

If this does not go ahead, it will be very hard to give any credence to those people and groups who initially opposed this market and who will come bleating with their Shop Local campaigns in the coming weeks. The ball is in your court.

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