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The Fruit and Vegetable Market was built and opened in 1892 and in 1897 bye-laws were made to regulate the market. These bye-laws are not only the day to day regulation of the market but also confer and describe the “market right”.


This is the last “market right” in Dublin and is of great significance. 


What Is A Market Right


A “market right” is a term that describes the legal protection that is given to a market that fulfills the criteria of being a legal market. Typically they were markets established by royal charter as is common in country towns in Ireland, but is also applied when a market is established by law by a public body as in this case.


“A market right at common law is a franchise right of having

a concourse of buyers and sellers to dispose of commodities in respect of

which the franchise was given. No one can have, in law, a franchise of

Market without a grant from the Crown or the authority of Parliament. The franchise gives the holder the sole and exclusive right of holding markets within certain limits: and although any person, provided he does not interfere with the existing market rights, may make provision for a concourse of buyers and sellers upon his land, such a concourse, if not held under franchise of statute, is not a market in law and will not enjoy the privileges of a franchise market.” 


Rights Of The Public In A Market Right.


“At all times when a market ought lawfully to be held, every member of the public has, of common right, the liberty to enter and frequent the market-place for the purpose of bringing there and exposing for sale and selling, or of buying, such commodities as are vendible in the market.” 


A “market right” is a property right that is protected with article 40.3 of the constitution. This means that it cannot simply be removed, built upon, or denied to the public. Once it is created it is there forever and the law is bound to protect it as far as is possible. 


Dublin City Council have never extinguished this right and if they attempted to do so they would have to go through the complicated process of Section 8 of The Casual Trading Act where they must replace the right with a similar right that corresponds in all regards in the same vicinity. This in practice means that this market would have to be moved to a similar sized area in the North Inner City. 


So this will always be the legal marketplace for Dublin. 


This right is defined in the bye-laws;

  • Area is the whole of the Fish Market Site, The whole of The Fruit And Vegetable Market Site, The Daisy Market and St Michan Street where it intersects the two markets. 

  • It is to be open Monday to Saturday and the hours are The Fruit And Vegetable Market  7.30 am to 5pm except Saturday when it closes at 1pm. The Fish And Game Market is 4.30am to 6pm and closes at 1pm Saturday

  • The Market is for the sale of vegetables, fruit and other garden and agricultural produce, and also fish and game. 

  • Certain products are named and to be sold by whole units, or by multiple units so as to ensure that they are sold as wholesale. 


To Update And Expand The Market Right.


Dublin City Council can modify and expand the right using the Casual Trading Act Section 8, but only if they do not diminish the right in any of the above. 


This in practice means that they can add Sunday, expand the hours, remove the wholesale quantity restriction and add more types of goods that can be sold. None of those actions would diminish the public right. 


Dublin City Council have obtained planning permission to convert half of the market into retail, but this was not required as it is already a market and simply needed amended bye-laws to expand the right. There is also a suggestion in this article that wholesaling may be stopped but this would be impossible considering the right. What is possible is to reasonably restrict the use of forklifts inside the building. 


Any action by Dublin City Council that diminishes the right is known as interference of the market, and this could include turning parts of the market into non market use. This would only arise if there was not enough space in the market to accommodate all of the traders. 


Private Operator.


It is unclear how a private operator will manage the market as it is the responsibility of Dublin City Council to make bye-laws and set fees with The Casual Trading Act 1995.The Council will have to draft workable bye-laws and set fees that are possibly far less than a private operator would seek. A private operator will not be able to select and get rid of traders as if in a private market but must observe the rights that are complicit in this market. 


Services Directive


Dublin City Council has been required by The Department Of Business, Enterprise and Innovation since 2009 to incorporate an EU Directive that requires a selection process for traders. This is linked here and has never been implemented by the Council, even though they have made new bye-laws since the requirement. 

If you wish to read further around these subjects, they are all linked in the Supporting Documents tab. 

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