English Market tourism restrictions to remain in place

English Market tourism restrictions to remain in place
Queues in the English Market. Picture Dan Linehan

THERE are no plans to remove new protocols which restrict tourist access to the English Market.

The controversial new measures came into effect on March 1, capping the size of tour groups accessing the historic amenity at any one time.

It also requires tour operators to register on an annual basis with market management.

City officials say that the new regulations were prepared in accordance with the wishes of the market traders.

They say that the changes will ensure that the historic market continues to function on a daily basis by minimising overcrowding and alleviating potential health and safety issues.

The move will also ‘ensure efficient functionality’ for customers at the market, according to city officials, as well as allowing tourists to experience ‘the true English market’, complete with ‘the unique atmosphere, trader rapport and interaction with customers’ it is renowned for.

However, a number of elected officials raised concerns about the changes, suggesting that they could harm the image of the market and the city when it comes to attracting tourists.

Fianna Fáil’s Tim Brosnan called on the city to suspend the protocols to allow for further consideration.

However, a report presented to elected members at a meeting of the Tourism, Arts & Culture Functional Committee this week emphasises the importance of the new protocols.

The report states, “The English Market is, above all else, a centre of commerce and trade. It is Ireland’s oldest indoor food market and has become increasingly popular as a visitor attraction in Cork city centre.” The number of tourists accessing the market has increased significantly in recent years, with a notable spike coming in the wake of the visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.

The report continued, “Following on from consultation between Cork City Council, the English Market Trades Committee and the English Market Management Company, it was agreed that it was necessary to put in place a safer and more structured process as to how and when tours operate within the English Market to ensure comfort for all those who have cause to visit and work in the market.” At present, approximately 450 people work in the historic market, with the council report claiming that more than 90% of the traders support the changes made.

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