Hundreds attend rally backing Kinsale funfair in  council row

Petition calls for Piper's showman wagon to be saved
Hundreds attend rally backing Kinsale funfair in  council row

The large crowd which turned out at the rally in support of the Piper family, calling on Cork County Council to allow the retention of the showman wagon at Short Quay in Kinsale. Picture: Dan Linehan

More than 400 people have gathered to support the retention of Kinsale's traditional funfair, with a petition calling for the Piper's showman wagon to be saved already handed in to Cork County Council.

The crowd gathered on Sunday afternoon for a solidarity rally to show support for the Piper family, who have run a traditional funfair in the tourist town since the late 1930s.

Those in attendance called on Cork County Council to reverse its decision to order the removal of the landmark wagon from its traditional parking spot on the town’s Short Quay area, where it has been parked since 1932.

Speakers at the event included those at the forefront of the campaign, Helen Hickey and the Green Party representative in the town, Marc Ó Riain, and Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O'Sullivan.

Mr Ó Riain said a petition signed by 2,250 people calling for the retention of the funfair has already been handed in to Cork County Council and that he and others were heartened by the huge turnout at the rally.

"It's brilliant," he said. "It's brilliant for the Piper family as well. 

They said if people don't turn up they know they don't want the wagon or the funfair here, and that is just not the case — the whole community is here.

The issue has also attracted the attention of Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who in the Dáil last Wednesday urged Cork County Council to "have a heart" and allow the wagon to remain in its traditional parking spot.

 Helen Hickey a former worker at Piper's, with Rachel Walsh, Christopher O'Sullivan TD, Cllr Seán O'Donovan, Marc Ó Riain, Marie Piper and Cllr Alan Colman at the rally in support of the Piper family. Picture: Dan Linehan
Helen Hickey a former worker at Piper's, with Rachel Walsh, Christopher O'Sullivan TD, Cllr Seán O'Donovan, Marc Ó Riain, Marie Piper and Cllr Alan Colman at the rally in support of the Piper family. Picture: Dan Linehan

It is understood talks between the parties could take place this week to try and resolve the issue.

Protesters at Sunday's event also called on the local authority to reduce the rental it has sought for the town’s public waterfront car park where the Piper family has staged a funfair for almost 90 years.

Brendan Piper, the fourth generation of the Piper family to run the funfair business, has said the increased rate being sought for the funfair site for each of the next three years makes it unviable.

Cork County Council said the funfair is exempt from commercial rates and the rent being sought is “exceptionally modest” and reflects a contribution to the council services provided in the town and which would be enjoyed by visitors to the funfair.

Fine Gael Cllr John O’Sullivan, chairman of the Bandon/Kinsale Municipal District, said he has been in contact with Mr Piper and is anxious to engage with him to find a resolution to the issue.

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