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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 19 January, 2018
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Ballymun market 'in limbo' as shopping centre due to be demolished

Traders were “shocked and upset” when they heard the centre was to close.

“We are very much in limbo.” – Naomi Shea, Ballymun Market coordinator

A POPULAR MARKET in Ballymun is ‘in limbo’ as the shopping centre where it is located is due to be demolished.

Ballymun Shopping Centre is set to be vacated by the end of the year, after it was announced that it is going to be knocked to make room for new development in the area.

The announcement was made in July, with Ballymun Regeneration Limited (BRL) and Dublin City Council (DCC) beginning negotiations with the remaining tenants over possible alternative retail sites.

10330358_691603257592857_1964643397492256957_n Source: Naomi Shea

However, Ballymun Market is also located in the centre – it was moved there a number of years ago after originally being out in the plaza nearby – and the traders don’t know what will happen with their businesses.

Providing a service

Ballymun Market runs every Thursday and on the first Tuesday of every month.

Naomi Shea, who is the market coordinator, said that the market has been “providing most of the commercial atmosphere in the centre” as the other shops have been closing down.

“It’s quite a busy market,” she said.

It suits the community that’s there, and it provides jobs for people in the area, and nobody wants it to go.

She said that an outdoor location in the square has been discussed as a possible location, but it is very weather dependent.

We want it to go on, the traders want it to go on, the people of Ballymun want it to go on.

She said that when they found out about the shopping centre closure, they were “shocked and upset and very worried about what was going to happen to the market”.

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She said that on market days the shopping centre is very busy, with about 25 traders from the local community and surrounding areas selling their wares.

The market itself is run by a voluntary board.

As well as the traders, people are also there to promote different community activities and services.

“It’s really buzzy – if you go into the centre on another day, there is nothing going on,” said Shea.

There are a lot of people who do it partially as a business, and partially they just enjoy having a chat with people and meeting the same people every week.

BsvNsQXCUAAXT-j.jpg large

The number of visitors even dropped for a small length of time, perhaps due to confusion or uncertainty on the part of locals about the market, said Shea.

“We came back, and we’re stronger than we were when I started,” said Shea, who took up her role in February of this year.

I think we’re filling a need in the community. There’s not a lot of places in the Ballymun are to shop.

Ballymun Sinn Féin Councillor Noeleen Reilly has called for Ballymun Market to be relocated elsewhere once the shopping centre is vacated.

“The market contributes greatly to the local economy and it must be protected,” she said. “The market is often the only place where people can buy certain goods locally.”

She said she “will do everything in my power to make sure the market is facilitated in Ballymun”.

We need to be increasing the economic activity in the area and generating more jobs and more opportunities for people to set up businesses. The market is very much part of that objective.

Who owns the shopping centre?

ballymun6-2-390x285 (1) Source: Daft.ie

A spokesperson from Dublin City Council told TheJournal.ie that the Council has been engaging with the remaining tenants in the shopping centre “with a view to achieving vacant possession”.

Any proposals to demolish the buildings in due course will be dependent upon obtaining full vacant possession.

Dublin City Council originally owned 47% of Ballymun Shopping Centre. It identified that acquiring a 100% interest in the centre “could assist with the overall regeneration of Ballymun and help to increase economic activity and to create jobs in the area”.

It entered discussions with NAMA and its receivers, and reached agreement to acquire the 53% NAMA  stake in the entre.

Dick Brady, Assistant City Manager with Dublin City Council said last March:

This acquisition, working with existing tenants of the Centre, along with placing on the market a site just to the north of the existing centre which will hopefully secure a major retail outlet, will create the conditions necessary to advance the complete redevelopment site and the completion of a new modern heart for Ballymun town.

Read: Ballymun Shopping Centre is going to be demolished soon>

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