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A long-running feud over Malahide's Christmas Kingdom is destined for the courts

The market’s operator is looking for a six-figure sum from Fingal council over the hastily reorganised event.

Image: RollingNews.ie

A DUBLIN EVENTS firm is looking for six-figure compensation as its dispute with Fingal council over the controversial Malahide ‘Christmas Kingdom’ heads for the courts.

The feud erupted between the local authority and ALA Markets & Events over the on-again, off-again launch of the seasonal market in 2015.

A week before it was due to open, the council axed the original market plan after residents complained it would cause traffic issues, parking problems and anti-social behaviour.

The locals also claimed they weren’t consulted about the scale of the plans by ALA Markets & Events or the local authority. The company has claimed consultation with residents did take place.

However, within 24 hours of pulling the plug, the council backtracked and announced that a scaled-down version of the event at the same site would go ahead. Residents agreed to the plan.

The project, which included a Santa’s grotto and ice rink, was originally due to run between 20 November 2015 and 3 January 2016.

As a result of the initial cancellation and subsequent rearrangement, the Christmas Kingdom missed its scheduled launch date and instead ran between 27 November and 17 January.

The drama surrounding the event’s rescheduling was repeatedly featured on Ireland’s second-most popular radio programme, Joe Duffy’s Liveline.

On 12 November, local councillor Jimmy Guerin said on Duffy’s show that the event wasn’t going ahead in its current form, adding that it would possibly be moved to another location.

When asked if organiser Andre Jenkinson, the co-owner of ALA Markets & Events, would be compensated, he said “some of his costs will probably be met by the council”.

Following the radio programme, a petition was launched by local residents who supported the opening of the Christmas Kingdom in Malahide. It secured over 800 signatures.

On 13 November, councillor Keith Redmond reaffirmed that the original markets, as scheduled, were not going ahead, but later that evening the council released a statement that said the event was back on.

‘€150,000 losses’

According to ALA Markets & Events, the numerous claims that the original event was cancelled caused a significant decline in footfall.

The Dublin-based firm claimed footfall at the Malahide event was more than 50% lower than at the previous year’s event held in nearby St Anne’s Park. As a result, the company says, tens of thousands of euro in revenue was also lost.

Fora understands that the council hasn’t accepted the organiser’s claims of lost earnings and is also arguing it isn’t liable for any reductions in market revenue.

CC CHRISTMAS KINGDOM A promotional event for the Malahide market Source: RollingNews.ie

ALA Markets & Events is seeking compensation from the council for the alleged loss of trade it says the media circus created around the event. It has claimed that the losses and damages it incurred in relation to the Christmas market are in excess of €150,000.

After initial discussions with the council about compensation, solicitors for ALA Markets & Events began High Court proceedings in 2016. While discussions between the parties have taken place, no resolution has been agreed.

In its legal filings, Fingal County Council noted that after problems with the original event, it agreed to a scaled-back version. It argued that this new agreement replaced the previous deal and therefore there was no breach of contract.

A spokeswoman for the council told Fora that it has not accepted responsibility for any delay in the starting of the Christmas Kingdom event. A spokesman for ALA Markets & Events said the company has made “every endeavour to avoid” the legal proceedings.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings. 

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Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ie

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