Henry Street traders hopeful after council hint at change of heart

by Gazette Reporter

Henry Street traders are hopeful of a Happy Christmas after the council hinted at a change of heart on allowing the traditional market stalls this year.

Scrooge officials had banned the vendors due to Covid-19 – but a vote carried at Monday’s Dublin City Council meeting urged them to reconsider.

Rene Cadwell, 46, who has been running a stall on Henry Street since she was a teenager, told Dublin Gazette: “This is a glimmer of hope.

“We want them to give us a chance.”

The council faced a huge backlash following last week’s decision to cancel the Henry Street/Mary Street festive trading due to the pandemic.

Traders themselves pointed out that they would follow all health guidelines, wear face coverings and do whatever the council advised to trade safely.

Councillors, most vocal among them Janice Boylan (SF), asked why open air trading was being axed when indoor retail was not if coronavirus was the issue.

Cllr Boylan said: “There can’t be a case for other markets like Bushy Park and St Anne’s Park to go ahead in Level 5 restrictions and then say Henry Street can’t, even when the level is reduced.

“The support for their position will be welcomed by all traders and by all the people of Dublin and further afield who have rallied around the traders.

“Council management must now work with the sub-committee and the traders to make sure they have the opportunity to trade if the levels are reduced.

“The traders do not wish to contract Covid-19 and will insist that anyone buying from them wears a mask and keeps their distance.

“Also some of the stalls can be placed on the opposite side of the road to give more space between them.”

Monday’s motion, tabled jointly by Cllr Boylan and Labour Cllr Joe Costello, was unanimously supported by the seven other members of the area committee.

Dublin City Council will now meet with traders’ representatives before they review the decision – with some form of market expected to be approved.

Rene said: “We haven’t worked since March, we normally trade for three weeks in the run up to Christmas but if they even give us two weeks that’s something.

“My dad Charlie is there 50 years and he would be heart-broken if he couldn’t get out this year.

“There’s normally 75 stalls but there will probably be around 40 if we get the go-ahead. We can still shout our wares and wear a mask.

“We haven’t fully worked the details out but we’d like to be given the opportunity to do it right.

“There’s family stalls there where their grandfathers and grandmothers used to queue up overnight to get a spot. We can’t let that tradition go.”

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