The thorny issue of the Donegal Food and Craft Market on the Diamond in Donegal Town looks set to be resolved in the interim, at least, while planning regulations and bye-laws are introduced to regularise such markets.
The market will remain in situ on the Diamond for the month of August at least, while they go in search of a new temporary home.
Organsiers are now said to be looking at “strategic locations close to the Diamond” in the days and weeks ahead.
The topic has trenchant advocates on both sides of the debate in a town, not unknown for the use of the terms ‘objection’ or ‘observations’.
Sinn Fein’s Cllr Cora Harvey and Fianna Fail Cllr Brendan Byrne, both former Donegal County Council Mayor’s, met with council planning officials in Donegal County Council yesterday in an effort to resolve the ongoing saga.
The market was to have been issued with a closure order last week from County Council officials after complaints were made against the market by a business trader. However, the Democrat/People’s Press understands that there may have been more than one objection to the market.
Cllr Brendan Byrne said that yesterday’s meeting was productive, cordial and effective: “Unfortunately while there were no bye laws in place the market was placed in a precarious position. While there are no bye laws in place, the situation needed to be regularised and proper planning procedures have to be introduced. The council have indicated that a farmers market is good for Donegal Town. Now we need to move forward to address the challenges and all are determined to do so over the next couple of months.” He said that whether the market would later return to the Diamond would then be a matter for the planning authorities and would also be subject to a public consultation process.
Jim McLaughlin, one of the main organisers of the market, said: “From our perspective, we are delighted and consider this as a great achievement by the Community. We’re delighted that common sense has prevailed and that the priority of the Council is now to do its utmost to sustain the Donegal Town Food and Craft Market and prioritise the passing of a Farmers’ Market byelaw. The Market will remain in place throughout August and September which will give us an opportunity to move the Market to a suitable site, we recognise the necessity of moving to a temporary site to allow the Council time to pass a Farmers’ Market byelaw which will keep the Market in the heart of the Town into the future”
He added: “The outcome of the recent negotiations around the future of the Market have been a great achievement for the local community. The people of Donegal Town and neighbouring areas who remained adamant that their market had to be protected, should be very proud of themselves. The outcome illustrates the crucial role that the Donegal Town Food and Craft Market play’s in the life of the local community and this pivotol role has been recognised and affirmed by this resolution. We wish to thank the elected representatives who worked tirelessly to achieve this positive outcome and more importantly the local community who through their support have maintained this community resource.”