The ground floor of Hynes’ Yard Car Park should be transformed into a permanent civic food market for the city, somewhat like The English Market in Cork.
This is the view of Seamus Sheridan, Green Party spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Mr Sheridan is calling on the Galway City Council to investigate the possibility of acquiring the Hynes’ Yard ground floor and create “a six day covered market”.
“All over Europe cities and towns, many with lower populations than Galway, have access to a local market,” he said. “The benefits to our city would be immense.”
Mr Sheridan says such a market would provide access for producers from the county and beyond to the city’s food economy while also helping to “create and sustain valuable jobs in our rural economy.”
He also argues that such a market would create access for Galway’s “growing restaurant sector to local produce and further enhance our reputation as a food destination”, instead of relying on ‘white van’ deliveries for produce, “much of it sourced from outside Galway’s hinterland”.
Mr Sheridan also believes that the six day market would “provide a great attraction for tourists” and points to the example of the popularity of Cork’s English Market and the publicity it gained with the British queen’s visit to it last year.
“When we go abroad we all love to visit food markets in other cities,” he said. “Imagine our own market full of stalls selling local fish, shellfish, market vegetables, organic produce, cheeses, breads, preserves, meats, cured pork, black pudding, honeys, smoked salmon.”
Mr Sheridan is seeking the support of all 15 city councillors for the idea.
“We have an ideal space in the heart of our city,” he said. “We have a great tradition of supporting markets. The project would be self financing with fair rents and rates from the stalls. It’s time we as a community took our own steps to create local sustainable real jobs