CONCERNED traders are taking legal action over Waterford City & County Council’s proposed Casual Trading Byelaws which specify where street trading can take place.
The traders’ unhappiness over the proposed byelaws which dictate where street trading can take place has resulted in objections being lodged by three traders at Waterford and Dungarvan District Courts.
While concerns for proposed casual trading in Dunmore East have dominated discussions on the 2017 Draft Casual Trading Byelaws to date, other issues appear to have also generated grave concerns.
Cllr John Hearne (SF) says he has been dealing with concerned traders from the Apple Market who feel aggrieved over how they were treated after being moved from their location in order to facilitate work taking place in the area.
Issues have also arisen with traders in Dungarvan.
The issue of the 2017 Draft Casual Trading Byelaws was on the agenda of last Thursday’s plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council held at City Hall.
However, at that meeting, Mayor Adam Wyse (FF) explained that the issue would have to be deferred until the next meeting as a legal matter had arisen.
He said the deferral decision was being taken based on legal advice and said he couldn’t allow any lengthy discussion on the matter.
Senior Executive Officer Billy Duggan explained that Waterford City & County Council has to carry out its actions in relation to byelaws in accordance with the Casual Trading Act 1995.
He said this clearly specifies that if people feel they have a grievance with proposed byelaws then they have a right to appeal through the District Court.
He said he was recommending a deferral of further discussion on the matter, as the Council had been given notice of a court case within the next two weeks.
“Hopefully at the next meeting, we will be in a position to deal with the issue,” he said.
Cllr Davy Daniels (Ind) noted that a similar issue had arisen in Cork, with discussions being held up for months.
He asked if there was a likelihood that this would happen in this case.
Mr Duggan said he didn’t have a clear time frame, and reiterated that the issue was now a matter for the courts.
Cllr John Cummins (FG) asked if it was legislation which stated that someone could take a legal challenge or if this was contained in the Council’s own byelaws.
“For me it seems bizarre that somebody could go to court over proposed byelaws,” he said.
“Technically we could have come in here tonight and changed every line that was going to be contained in the byelaws and passed something completely different.”
Mr Duggan said Cllr Cummins was not correct and said Councillors couldn’t make such changes in the proposed byelaws.
He said the right to appeal is included in the Casual Trading Act 1995, and said Waterford City & County Council would be abiding by this.
Cllr Hearne asked if the Council could have discussions with the concerned parties in order to resolve the issue before going to court.
“If it goes to court, it could take years,” he said.
“The only people who win in court are solicitors”.
He said the issue had potential to delay other work which needs to be done in the city.
Mr Duggan said that Waterford City & County Council had done everything which was expected and that he was now quite happy to follow the legal advice.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Hearne says traders in the Apple Market were treated disgracefully when told to move from the area.
He said their new locations were “not suitable” and that several meetings had taken place as a result of their concerns. He reiterated his call to have the issue resolved before going to court.