Cork publican considers legal action over vacant stalls

One of Cork’s leading publicans is considering legal action against the city because vacant market stalls in its traditional market quarter are blocking his listed building.

Benny McCabe, who owns some of the city’s best-known pubs, including the listed Bodega on Cornmarket St, said he plans to approach city councillors this week in a bid to resolve the issue. However, he said he may have to take legal action unless something is done.

He called for a redesign of the stalls, or for them to be lit up or put to other use when they are not in use.

“It’s having a horrendous impact on business,” he said.

“It’s an unprecedented situation to have stalls like this creating a blockade of a listed building. I can’t trade and pay €50,000 a year in rates when the building can’t be seen from the street.

“I don’t want to go legal, but I may have no option.”

The stalls were erected by the council after the completion in 2011 of an 18-month €4m revamp of Cornmarket St and the Coal Quay — the city’s traditional street market area.

The council installed new market stalls in the pedestrian-friendly zone to facilitate the return of street traders, many of whom have traded on the Coal Quay for generations. However, Mr McCabe said the city’s ambition to rejuvenate the street market has not been realised. Most stalls open for just a few hours a day, some just once a week, and they are shuttered for the rest of the time, he said.

He said he, and other traders, want a thriving, successful street market.

A spokesman for City Hall said the city council has invested heavily in the public realm in the historic area.

“We are committed to working with all interests in the area to ensure that the Coal Quay contributes strongly to the economy of the city centre,” he said.

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