Hitting back

The contentious Dublin Christmas Market has a 100 per cent approval rate

According to a survey from the group that set it up … The Restaurants Association of Ireland have criticised it for an over-reliance on fast food operators.

Updated at 9.50pm

BUSINESS GROUP DUBLINTOWN is hitting back at claims from restaurateurs that the contentious Christmas Market at Stephen’s Green is damaging business in the area.

CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, said earlier that there were too many fast food operators at the market. 

He also questioned its “scale, size and density” and added:

“If you are a small café or a restaurant – you will find it very difficult with your lunchtime trade when your business is being affected.”

He also questioned the ability of the market to draw in overseas trade, saying:

“It isn’t the sort of thing that would draw in tourists from abroad.

I have visited markets all across Europe — it is not a market that could be promoted internationally.

It’s not the first time the market — a new addition to the city’s festive programme — has come in for criticism.

Mannix Flynn, the Independent councillor, said last month that it was “diabolical” and showed “blatant disregard” for businesses and residents.

Hitting back

In a response this evening, DublinTown CEO Richard Guiney said it was implausible for the restaurants association “to say that people are making a choice between a hot dog as they stand and a sit down meal”.

“They are two very different experiences and there is evidence of people having a snack at the market, doing some shopping and then going for a sit down meal.”

He also cited a survey commissioned by the group — giving it a 100 per cent approval rating. 433 people at the market were questioned for the poll.

DublinTown DublinTown

DublinTown DublinTown

DublinTown DublinTown

Guiney went on to state that DublinTown had held a consultation with local restaurants on 31 October in which the upcoming Christmas Market was discussed.

The meeting led to the introduction of the ‘Dine in Dublin’ promotion which sees restaurant vouchers sold at the Market. So far 40 restaurants have signed up to the scheme which has sold €3,000 worth of the vouchers.

In response to criticism that the market was not marketable internationally, Guiney noted that it had been mentioned positively in a recent New York Times article.

In terms of surrounding businesses, Greg Devitt, manager of Stephen Green Shopping Centre, said the market led to an increase in footfall.  TGI Fridays, which has a location beside the shopping centre, also said it had had a positive impact on sales.

The market’s been getting decidedly mixed reviews from readers however.

“The market is dreadful, not like a real Christmas market at all. Almost nothing but food stalls and badly laid out,” is what commenter Dermot Lane had to say in response to an earlier version of this article.

“Give it a chance this is its first year and it will be a learning curve,” another reader — Owen Lynch — responded.

Additional reporting by Daragh Brophy.

Read: New York Times ode to Dublin at Christmas will fill you with festive cheer

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