Decision time for Sunday market
Belfast councillors were to vote last night on whether to allow Sunday openings at St George’s Market to continue.
The market traders were due to appear before Belfast City Council’s development committee to make a presentation after the trial run of Sunday openings went well.
The stall holders kicked off the new year in style last weekend, presenting a number of weavers, spinners, knitters and other textile crafters who demonstrated their skills to delighted crowds.
Hermann Baur, a St George’s trader who sells textile creations he and his wife produce in their flax mill, said: “January is usually a quiet month so the traders came together last year to see what we can all do to attract more visitors during this time.
“We chose to kick-off the new year by asking textile traders to do demonstrations, which went extremely well. One trader brought a seven-foot wigwam that she had been embroidering for the last 10 years — that stirred quite a bit of interest I can tell you.
“We brought our handloom, which is over 100 years old and my wife Marion was inundated with people asking questions, fascinated by how the machine worked.
“We hope to be doing something similar at the market very soon, but next time with cookery.
“We are hoping that the undoubted success of running the Sunday market helps to persuade those at Belfast City Council that it should be made permanent.
“Last year, we were awarded a three-month trial, that went very well, but councillors voted again to give us another three-month trial.
“We are pleased to say the second trial has showed itself to be a success too — we don’t know what other excuse they can use from holding it back from becoming permanent now.
“St George’s is the only market out of the three Belfast markets that doesn’t cost anything.”
Market trader Paddy Lynn said: “The Sunday market has been a glowing success, but it’s time we see the times of the Sunday market up on the front of the building to let people know it’s here. We are limited to what we can do and how we advertise Sunday trading because at the moment it is only temporary.
“Shoppers and visitors to the market keep telling us they want this permanent, traders want it permanent, the council aren’t losing any money, in fact they are making profit — we want it here for years to come.”
A spokesperson from Belfast City Council told the Community Telegraph yesterday: “The decision to make Sunday trading at St George’s market a permanent feature is on the agenda of the development committee’s meeting this evening.
“Whatever decision is to be made at this meeting, has to be ratified by councillors at their next meeting in February.”