Traders welcome facelift for famous city centre market
AFTER several false starts, the Victorian fruit and vegetable market on Mary's Lane looks set – finally – to get its facelift.
Over the past decade, a number of different schemes have been mooted, but plans have now been drafted to turn the city centre hall into a continental-style food market.
It will see the protected building, built in 1892 between Capel Street and the Four Courts, add retail food stalls to the existing wholesale depot.
Renovations will see the current wholesale businesses move to the west part of the hall, with the rest devoted to a food market and cafes.
Wholesalers have welcomed the development.
Joe Duffy, of Joseph Duffy and Sons, said his flower shop has been in the market for three generations and more than 100 years.
"It would be great to see something finally happen," he said. "It should be good for business.
"Some people actually thought the market was closed.
"It will be great to get people in, especially for a luxury item like flowers," Mr Duffy added.
Joe Lawlor, of J & N Lawlor, has been selling fruit and vegetables in the market for 50 years.
"It would be nice to see a change," he said. "We need to get people into the place."
"The plans now are better than the plans that were there before," he said.
In 2002, the market was to have become part of a six-storey office and apartment complex while, in 2007, a €425m project was proposed.
Current plans are on a smaller scale and should see the Victorian market look like the English Market in Cork.
But plenty of work will need to be done, according to David Tyrell, of N Tyrell Wholesale, who said the toilet facilities were not sufficient.
"I think it will be a big step. They are going to try to attract people to the area, which will be good.
"If it happens, it will be great," he added.
Howard Keogh, of K&M fruit and veg, welcomed the proposed renovations, but had some concerns.
"There's a security issue," he said.
"We come in at five in the morning and work until two.
"The retailers' business will only be picking up when the wholesalers are ending.
"Everything will have to be locked up to be kept safe.
"We'll need a security plan for the whole area."