Cork County Council is preparing bylaws to control casual trading in towns, but may not be able to control it on country roads.
The local authority had prepared to introduce them some years ago, but that plan was held up in the courts following an objection in Bantry, which has now been resolved.
Councillors have expressed concern that casual trading has got ‘out of control’ and bylaws are needed to designate areas in towns and make traders clean up after themselves.
It is expected that specific areas of operation for casual traders will be brought before the eight municipal districts in the next few weeks and when finalised by councillors they will go out to public consultation.
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe (FF) said businesses were being overrun by casual traders in Mitchelstown.
Cllr Kay Dawson (FG) agreed with him and said the situation “had actually become dangerous” on Thursdays when a market is held in the town square. Cllr Kevin Conway (Ind) complained that “casual traders were occupying every single corner of Blarney” and something had to be done about it, while Cllr Claire Cullinane (Ind) claimed that casual traders had taken over her hometown of Cobh to such an extent “that some days it’s literally like the Wild West”.
Cllr John A Collins (FG), who owns a shop in Carrigaline, said there were issues about casual traders on roadsides because they have no sanitary facilities and some were parked in areas which caused a danger to motorists.
Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) agreed with him and added there had to be a balance between casual traders and fixed businesses.
Cllr Sinead Sheppard (FG) pointed to a situation in Glanmire where a businessman paying rates had a casual trader selling the same produce parked outside his premises.
Cllr Derry Canty (FG) said he recently travelled between Kilkenny and Clonmel and had counted 10 casual traders on the roadside.
“We have to do something about it,” he said.
However, his party colleague, Cllr Gerard Murphy, pointed out that while the council may be able to regulate casual traders in towns, it would probably need national legislation to deal with them in the countryside. The issue of who was going to police the new by-laws was raised by Cllr Tim Lombard (FG).
Cllr Cullinane said staff levels had been cut so much in recent years that the Government would have to lift the local authority embargo on recruitment for the bylaws to work.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved