Vintners opposed to plans to open a bar as part of a Christmas Market in Derry city centre say the move could lead to job losses.
Plans for a Christmas Market at Guildhall Square have been opposed by a group of local publicans because they include a proposal for a licenced bar.
Vintner’s spokesman Gerry McCloskey, of the Monico Bar at Custom House Street, told the Journal that Derry publicans can not afford to lose any trade in the current economic climate.
“In the last 18 months to two years six bars have been shut in the area. There are ten bars in the vicinity of Guildhall Square - within two minutes walk of the planned market - and they will lose trade because of this.
“I’d like to ask is Derry City Council trying to bring jobs to the city because this move will actually put jobs in jeopardy.
“Every pound spent in that bar will be a pound not spent in a local establishment, business will be taken away from local pubs and that will have very serious repercussions.”
Development company Meenan Square has applied for the licence.
The application is due before Derry Magistrate’s Court today.
Last Friday solicitor Thomas Doherty, acting on behalf of Meenan Square Ltd, said that should the application fail “there will be no Christmas market”.
District Judge Barney McElholm said while the “objectors are entitled to object” he would like to see the legal grounds for the objection.
The application hearing - which includes objections lodged by a number publicans who fear a bar would affect their trade in the usually busy Christmas period - is likely to take around an hour, the court heard.
There are seven grounds of objection listed in the application, including one on the basis of character.
A spokesperson for Derry City Council said that it is unable to provide any comment on this matter as it is currently being considered by the court, but that it was “hopeful the ruling would not jeopardise bringing the Christmas Market to the city and providing a retail boost to traders”.
In recent years several long standing bars in the city have shut their doors including the Grand Central, the 720, Dodds, The Beechtree and the Bogside Inn.