Sunday 17 December 2017

Ice cream man takes council to High Court

Ray Managh and Aodhan O’Faolain

An ice cream seller has told a High Court judge that Waterford County Council cancelled his Beach Trading Licence in order to placate a local seaside shopkeeper whose custom had been hit.

Robert Gal, of Kilgabriel, Clashmore, Co Waterford, said that after having been moved from a high footfall area to a spot beside the site of an old toilet his daily takings dropped from hundreds of euro to between €12 and €24 a day.

Barrister Michael P McGrath told the court that Mr Gal planned to sue the local authority for damages for loss of business and wanted leave to bring a legal challenge to quash a number of the County Council’s decisions.

Mr McGrath said Mr Gal started a business last year selling ice cream, candy floss, teas and coffee and snacks but had been refused a licence to trade on the beach because his application had been too late.

He had been granted an unconditional licence in May of this year permitting him to operate his mobile shop van near Ardmore Beach. He started trading on June 3 last and took in €476 in his first day.  On June 4 and 5, he turned over €200 a day.

Mr McGrath said Mr Gal’s point of sales was near Sharon Veale’s Beachcombers Shop, Ardmore, and on June 3 a man whom Mr Gal believed to be her husband told him if he did not have a licence he would call the gardai.  He had gone off when shown Mr Gal’s licence.

Other incidents involved the parking of a van to block out Mr Gal’s trailer and the recording of the noise of his generator.  On June 4 a Waterford County Council employee told him his generator was too noisy and to fix it.  He was told to move to the old toilet site at Whiting Bay where his takings plummeted.

Mr Gal had bought a quieter generator and on legal advice moved back to his original spot which was near The Beachcombers Shop.  Despite a meeting with County Council officials in Dungarvan he was told he had to move again.

On July 6 he had spoken on Ms Veale’s mobile phone to Garda Whelan from Dungarvan who told him he would have to move to Whiting Bay or Ballyquin where there was no shop.

“The garda said my licence was cancelled and if I did not move he would seize my van.  I was afraid of the garda so I moved to Whiting Bay that day,” Mr Gal told the court.

He was granted leave to seek by judicial review to quash the Council’s decision to revoke his licence and challenge its Beach Trading Policy.  He is also seeking damages for loss of earnings and joined Sharon Veale as a Notice Party to the proceedings.

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