Councillors resist plans to regulate seasonal trading

Kieran Foley reports

CONFUSION reigned at a recent meeting of Waterford City & County Council in relation to a draft policy to regulate the seasonal selling of fruit and vegetables on national roads.
At the October plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Director of Services Fergus Galvin explained that the policy was being put forward because of increasing road safety concerns.
The controversial policy sought to restrict such seasonal trading to safer areas in lay-bys where speed limits are lower.

This would mean that the sale of items such as strawberries and potatoes would not be permitted on national roads such as the N25 where a 100km/h speed limit is in place.
Cllr John Cummins (FG) described the policy as a “sensible proposal”.
He said safety issues have arisen because of such practices and said there is a “duty” on the Council to ensure that such trading takes place in responsible locations.
“In my opinion, a 100km/h zone is not an appropriate location,” he said.

Cllr Tom Cronin (FF) sought further information while Cllr James Tobin (FF) pointed out that Waterford flags and hurling merchandise were being sold on roadsides prior to the All-Ireland Hurling Final and asked if such trading would also be restricted.
Cllr John Pratt (Lab) asked if the proposal could be amended to enable trade within a “safe area”, while Cllr Jim Griffin (SF) pointed out that the policy wouldn’t make any difference as the Council’s resources are already stretched in implementing other policies such as in relation to dumping.
Fergus Galvin explained that the draft policy is “very specific” and other casual trading is “entirely different”.
He said the policy involves a “prohibition” on specific categories and clarified that such trading would not be allowed in a 100km/h zone even if a lay-by exists.
Meanwhile, Cllr Eamon Quinlan (FF) asked if the rules applied to vehicles which are for sale on roadsides and asked if this constitutes casual trading.

In response, Mr Galvin said this trading was subject to a separate enforcement action.
Cllr Eddie Mulligan (FF) welcomed the proposal and said he had received a number of representations in relation to casual trading.
However, he pointed out that other issues also need to be addressed including the proliferation of signage.
He proposed that the draft policy be sent to the Economic and Enterprise Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) for further discussion before then coming back to Councillors.
Fergus Galvin explained that the policy had already come through the SPC process.
A vote was then taken on the draft policy, which had been proposed by Cllr Cummins and seconded by Cllr Blaise Hannigan (Ind).
Councillors voted 12-8 against endorsing the draft policy.
“God forbid there is a crash and somebody loses their life,” commented Cllr Cummins.

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