Market traders face up to 600% fees increase

 

DUBLIN’S MARKET traders can expect huge hikes in the pitch fees they must pay to Dublin City Council from next year with some stallholders facing an increase of 600 per cent in the charge.

All street traders will see their fees rise under the new casual trading bylaws which have been drafted by the council. Most fees will jump by 50 per cent since the last review in 2007, but many traders will see a doubling and trebling of the costs.

The biggest hit will be taken by traders selling flowers outside cemeteries, who will see their costs rocket from €150 a year to €1,000.

Others facing huge rises include flower sellers on O’Connell Street, whose costs are set to go from €500 to €1,500; jewellery and accessories vendors on South Anne Street, who will have to pay €2,000, up from €1,000; and night-time food vendors, who will have to pay €6,000 up from €4,000.

Charges for new pitches which did not exist in 2007 have been set at a uniformly high level in comparison with older pitches. A fee of €6,000 has been set for a snack bar on Amiens Street; an ice-cream stall with permission to operate on Fishamble Street from June to August only will have to pay €1,000; and a flower seller at the top of Grafton Street will have to pay €8,000.

Clodagh O’Connor, whose family have been selling flowers outside Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross for generations, said she could not understand why her fee was rising from €150 to €1,000 when the fee for flower sellers on Camden Street was going from €150 to €225. “I don’t know why mine is so much more, there’s nowhere near as many people walking by here as there is on Camden Street. I don’t know how the council work it out and they don’t tell you.”

Ms O’Connor said she would not be able to pay the increased charge and had made a submission to the council appealing the increase.

Tom McGuinness, who runs a mobile pizza stall on weekend nights on Hatch Street, said a €6,000 charge was unsustainable.

“There seemed to be no consultation over this, the council just want your annual fee and to hear nothing else from you.”

Ciarán Casey, who runs Mast, a company which manages group insurance for traders, said it had tried without success to secure an explanation for the anomalies.

Mast has made a submission to the council on behalf of some 60 traders who are concerned about the unprecedented increase.

“There is no rationale for an increase like this at the current time. Economic circumstances are far worse now than in 2007, so how can fees be increased so much? Essentially the council is losing money in other areas and is looking to profiteer from the market traders.”

The application of fees appeared to be arbitrary, Mr Casey said, and there was no indication what, if any services would be provided by the council in return. “The council is not fulfilling its obligations as a municipal authority. Traders at municipal markets in Paris pay an average daily fee of €1.50 per square metre, which includes electricity, water, toilet facilities and the removal of rubbish. You won’t get that in Dublin.”

A council spokesman said it had received 203 submissions on the draft bylaws, which had been passed on to the relevant strategic policy committee. The power to pass bylaws rested with the city councillors and the draft bylaws may be subject to change prior to being passed, he said.