Weekly market 'losing the battle with multi-nationals'

Published 19/07/2014 | 12:00

Colin and Philip Gorman at their fruit and vegetable covered stall at The Square, Tubbercurry last Thursday. Photo: Tom Callanan

For generations, the weekly market has been part of life in towns such as Ballymote and Tubbercurry.

But there are now fears that could change.

In Ballymote and Tubbercurry, the market takes place every Thursday.

But stall holders say they are losing the battle with large multi-national supermarkets.

In Ballymote, there are now about four stall holders.

They include sellers of fruit and vegetables, flowers, chickens and eggs and fish.

One time, there were up to 10.

Fruit and vegetable seller Sean Gorman, of Tubbercurry, said: "I am doing it for the last 30 years.

"There have been unreal changes.

"Going into the market in Sligo on a Friday 10 years ago, you would not get into it.

"There would be 20 to 25 stalls.

"Now there are only about three of them.

"The supermarkets are putting us out of business because we can't compete. We are trying to buy and sell. The only thing that keeps us going is that all our produce is home-grown and fresh."

There have been calls for the county council to reduce the length of the contract required to hold a street space.

Many new stalls are put off by having to sign up for a six or 12-month period, costing up to €700.

Traders are also required to pay public liability insurance.

A short-term or trial contract for new stalls has been suggested as a means of regenerating growth in the markets.

Sean Gorman added; "I have to pay for Ballymote, Tubbercurry and Sligo.

"When you take them all in it's hard to make money and keep a van."

Sligo County Council's designated Trading Bays can be found in Riverstown, Dromore West, Coolaney, Tubbercurry, Ballymote, Rosses Point and Enniscrone.

Annual casual trading licence fee is €507.

A one day event Licence costs €50.

Sligo Champion

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