Derry’s Peace Bridge was far from peaceful yesterday afternoon after the owner of a local ice cream company called in the police.
Michael Byrne, owner of Incredible Ices, claims that his company got a licence from Derry City Council (DCC) that would allow him to trade near Browning Drive.
However, Mr. Byrne thought that he was left with no choice but to phone the police after a rival company started to selling ice creams in what he thought was the designated zone.
“I am registered with DCC and have a license to be here. When I got the license I was told that I would be the only company permitted to sell ice creams near the Peace Bridge but I only found out that a rival company has a license to be here too.
“Had I known this at the time I wouldn’t have applied and paid for the license. I am losing money every day this happens and as a result I might have to sell my business.”
“The rival company have a licence permitting one ice cream to be in the designated zone but they sometimes have other vans here - this is just not fair.”
Mr. Byrne contacted the police yesterday and he claims that after the rival company was asked to move they shifted their additional van metres outside the designated zone.
“It’s a joke,” he said. “In my view this is clearly flaunting the rules and despite my efforts to contact DCC I haven’t been able to reach anyone - I am at my wits’ end.”
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Police in Londonderry attended St Columb’s Park at approx 12 midday today ( Saturday 27th August ) following a report of unlicensed trading in the area.
“In attendance at the scene was a member of the council who carried out an inspection of the traders’ permits and moved a person without the relevant documentation on.
“Licensing for street traders is a council matter and if the council has not issued an appropriate licence to a person providing a service then they are committing an offence. Whilst this is not a criminal matter, police can report licence breaches to the relevant local council who have the option to prosecute.”
A spokesperson for Derry City Council indicated that direct contact would be made, as soon as possible, with the company to clarify their licensing arrangement.