Kenmare casual trading byelaws appeal comes before court

Appeals against the proposed byelaws surrounding casual trading in Kenmare have begun at a special sitting of Killarney District Court.

The hearing is the latest twist in a long-running dispute in the town about casual trading and the way it should operate.

This latest set of proposed byelaws were published last year and include proposals to allocate 29 licences for bays along two sides of the Fair Green which can be operated from 9am to 5pm. 

Yesterday, Judge James O’Connor heard opening statements from barristers for Kerry County Council, which is proposing the byelaws, members of Kenmare Chamber of Commerce, around thirty traders and a local premises owner John McCarthy.

Barrister Vincent McKechnie said his client Kerry County Council is constrained by market rights, EU directives and the Casual Trading Act.

The market rights date back to the times of the Shelbourne and Lansdowne estates in the 1700s and 1800s and are protected under the letters patent originally granted by the British monarchy.

Such rights can be extinguished under the Casual Trading Act (1995) if unused for 10 years but the council believes they have been and could have to compensate the traders if the rights were extingushed; he added the proposed byelawd do not lessen the market rights.

Mr McKechnie said they need to look after everyone; the rate payers, tourists, residents, traders and ensure safety for all.

On behalf of around 30 traders, barrister Catherine McGillycuddy said are asking the court to prohibit the byelaws as they fail to reach a standard set out in the High Court.

She said the council are trying to extinguish market rights with sweeping changes by the back door, whittling them down to a point where they are unrecognisable.

Several witnesses called by barrister David Kennedy on behalf of Kenmare Chamber of Commerce described chaotic scenes in the town especially on Wednesdays when parking is a major issue as the stalls are taking up multiple bays.

They claimed this impacted on businesses in the town and is also a health and safety risk; something the traders deny.

Judge James O’Connor adjourned the case for further hearings on July 17th and 24th at Killarney District Court.

It is expected Ms McGillycuddy will call up to six witnesses including traders and Mr McKechnie will call one.