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green light Henry Street traders get go-ahead to run Christmas stalls in city centre

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Henry Street

Henry Street

Henry Street

Dublin City Council has given the green light for a limited number of stalls to operate at the annual Henry Street Christmas Market in the city centre, having announced last month that the market would not go ahead.

The latest development is seen as a compromise in a row that has been brewing since November 11, when the council said the market would not open due to fears surrounding the possible spread of Covid-19.

Angry traders, whose families have run the market for around 80 years, argued that if the main retail stores could open indoors then they should be allowed to open outdoors.

They wanted their markets to be able to operate if the restrictions were reduced from Level 5 to Level 3, and that scenario became a reality yesterday.

A meeting between the council and the traders was brokered by Lord Mayor Hazel Chu, and the traders were informed on Monday night that a limited number of stalls would be allowed to operate.

Lots will be drawn to decide who gets them.

In a letter to traders the council offered to accommodate 15 stalls on Henry Street and a further 10 on O'Connell Street.

The council said it is seeking applications for the limited number of pitches, and that if the number of applicants exceeds the number of pitches then they would be allocated on a lottery basis.

It said it is also open to the traders rotating their stalls so that each gets a chance to trade.

While traders said they are disappointed that more stalls cannot be accommodated, they have vowed to help each other.

Many traders bought stock early in the year and could now be left in a position where they cannot sell it.

"We will try to sell stock for those who don't get stalls so we can help them a bit," said one trader.

"Traders depend on the Christmas markets and many have already bought stock earlier in the year."

Terrible

Sadie Grace, the chair of the Henry Street Traders Committee, said it will not be known whether or not demand for the stalls exceeds supply until later today.

"There were 47 stalls last year, so it's down to nearly half this year," she told the Herald.

"Some traders may not want to go out this year over Covid. We'll just have to wait and see.

"It will be terrible if people want to trade but can't.

"There have been offers to help each other out so we'll just have to wait to see how many apply, how many get slots, and how many are disappointed."

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