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An investigation is to be carried out by staff within the Ennis Municipal District of Clare County Council to assess if traders of the farmers market at Roslevan have planning permission to use the location.

Councillors questioned if planning had been granted to allow Roslevan be used by the farmers market during a discussion at a recent meeting of the Ennis MD. This stemmed from a motion by Cllr Pat Daly (FF) who asked the MD to “look at the possibility to open up at weekends the Market Building for trading similar to the Milk Market in Limerick”.

It was noted in a written response by Bernadette Haugh, administrative officer within the Ennis MD that the Market Building “provides a quality and convenient location for licensed traders to promote their quality food and craft produce”. She listed some of the events which took place in the building since its September 2016 and that it provides 27 car parking spaces “in a safe, convenient and central location”.

Haugh confirmed “The existing Market Building will be integrated into the regenerated urban area once the O’Connell Square, High Street, Barrack Square and Old Barrack Street project, part of the Ennis Public Realm Regeneration Programme is advanced. In the interim, we are always open to engaging with traders who wish to come together to hold a Market in the building”.

Born in Parnell St, Cllr Daly expressed his disappointment with the operation of the €500,000 Garraunakilla building. “In general it’s not working, it’s a glorified car park. One councillor said to me it’s just not working. The Milk Market is there for over 100 years and it is working”. He added, “I remember the old days in the 70s and 80s, the Market was hopping. I know things have changed, big chains of shops have come in since and it is a different Ennis to that of the 70s. The regeneration of Barrack St is fantastic but people are not happy with what has happened in the Market, I’m getting it everyday of the week. We have to put in a bit of management there”.

His party colleague, Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) seconded the motion and commented, “I’m only 27 so I don’t remember the old fashioned market,” to which Daly jokingly responded “I’m only 42”. “We have lost something very special in the Market,” Nestor lamented.

A suggestion to work with musicians from the Youth Service was made by Cllr Mary Howard (FG). “The Market building has had a baptism of fire where it just never took off,” she maintained that the covered market “has great potential”. “I have been informed that the Farmers Market don’t have planning permission for Roslevan, the Market Building was built for them, I’d like for that to be looked into”.

Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) recalled that in 2004 while sitting on the Ennis Town Council he was one representative to encourage the Farmers Market to move into the Market, “we had casual trading and by laws which allowed them to trade there”.

At the time of the proposed development, Flynn met with trustees of the Milk Market but decried the altered design which “was significantly amended based on the farmers market”. He continued, “Cllr Howard has raised a very serious question, is there planning permission for them to trade at Roslevan. There has been a huge investment by the local authority, it should be supported by farmers market and they should come back in”.

Senior executive officer, Leonore O’Neill stressed that they were “open to collaborating” with any personnel interested in trading in the Market Building. She confirmed they were happy to facilitate a delegation to the Milk Market. “Regarding planning issues, we will follow up on that. We are reviewing the overall Market Building as part of the overall Parnell St and Barrack St project”.

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