A Ballyshannon Sunday market trader says he feels “bullied” and that organisers of the Rory Gallagher Festival “walked all over them” when it came to their weekly Sunday market held in the town centre each Sunday.
The festival drew thousands of people to the town last weekend but local trader, David Scott, who has been a fully licensed trader in the weekly market for a number of years, said last Sunday he and a number of other traders arrived at the site to be told they could not trade in their normal slots.
David, who runs the “Scotties Got It” stall selling toys, handbags and accessories, says they were offered a smaller area to trade in but after he consulted with his insurance company he was told his public liability insurance would not cover the relocation unless the local authority gave written detail of the move, which he says they did not.
“Don’t get me wrong. I think the Rory Gallagher event is great for the town, but as the law stands, they just walked all over us. They really have,” he said.
David claimed that up to ten traders arrived at the site on Sunday morning but left without setting up their markets or trading.
He is a member of the ‘International Operator Market and Street Traders’ body and produced a Council document stating the only two derogations when they are not allowed to trade in the Market Yard, is an agreement relating to the Harvest Fair and the Folk Festival weekends, not the Rory Gallagher weekend.
David said actions towards traders over the weekend has deprived many of them a right to earn a living.
Speaking on local radio this week, Fruit and Veg trader Joe Walsh said their was “no” communication between the traders and the committee to try resolve the issue and as a result he had to dump valuable fresh stock.
“I work in fruit and veg. It is highly perishable stuff. When I landed up there last Sunday with perishable goods such as Strawberries, grapes and all that, which as to be dumped at this stage,” he stated.
He added all they were looking for was “a fair playing field” with both the festival committee or the Town Council in what could have been “our best weekend of the year,” he added.
Festival chair responds
Chairman of the Rory Gallagher Festival, Barry O’Neill, has denied any wrong doing by the committee.
“We don’t think there was any issue and we think the business communities of Ballyshannon and Bundoran were very happy. It generates up to €2.5m for the local economy.
“I have no issue with anyone in the casual trading area and I wish them the best of luck with the other 51 weeks of the year. We had everything in order with both the fire officer and the courts,” he stated.
He says the traders were “legally incorrect” with their claims. The Chairman added the the weekend brought in a crowd of over 11,000 to the area with 1,500 of those coming from overseas for the rock weekend..