Worth €15 million to the local economy Galway’s Continental Christmas Market was given due recognition for its contribution this week with city councillors giving unanimous approval to the granting of a licence to hold the event again this year as well as waiving the €20,000 fee for the use of Kennedy Park.
It was also announced at Monday’s city council meeting that free on-street parking in the city centre will be provided from Monday, November 4 to Friday, November 29. The Park and Ride iniative will also take place in conjuction with the Christmas Market which will be held from Friday November 22 to Sunday December 22.
“The Christmas market has brought a fantastic buzz to the city, it should be commended,” said Cllr Peter Keane, who then put forward a motion calling for the market to proceed in accordance with the advice of the planning section, except for the recommendation that the operator pay a fee of €20,000 which should be struck out. He added that this was “in recognition of the contribution it has made to the city”.
Supporting this motion, Cllr Niall McNelis highlighted how research has shown that the Christmas market is worth €15 million to the local economy, that 15 part-time jobs created, and 12 charities supported. “This [the market] helps local businesses survive the period, it shouldn’t be charged this fee,” said Cllr McNelis, who welcomed the Park and Ride iniative and asked for the complimentary on-street parking for the city centre during November.
Many councillors called for the number of local traders and craft stalls to be increased as there has been a perception of too many food stalls and high prices. They called on the orginisers to use the €20,000 saving to reduce the fees for the traders so that this will be reflected in the prices and provide more value for customers.
Presenting the report from city planners, director of services Ciaran Hayes said this is the fourth year that the market is being held, that it has “become an established event” which has improved year-on-year. The free on street parking iniative will be for two hours, Monday to Friday between 10am to 12 noon. The streets included in this iniative are: Augustine Street, Dominick Street, Forthill Street, Lombard Street, Cross Street, Market Street, Raven Terrace, Bothar Irwin, Eyre Street, Frenchville Street, Merchants Street, Newtownsmyth, Woodquay/Potato Market, Bride Street, Forster Street, Headford Road, Middle Street, St Brendan’s Avenue, and Courtlane.