Cork's famous food market is in need of renovation but is it time to redevelop the Victorian structure?

The English Market, an indoor venue between Princes Street and Grand Parade in Cork city is the only one of its kind in Ireland. People from all over Cork come to the130 stalls that sell fresh fruit vegetables meat and fish.

The market occupies valuable real estate in the middle of the city and is in poor condition. Cork Corporation who lease the site to traders are seeking proposals for its redevelopment, providing the ground floor is used for markets. To date submissions have been make for an overhead office block and multi-storey car park. 

Superintendent of the markets Jeremiah Buckley wants the stalls to comply with regulations as they are currently too small. Rent for bigger units would be higher, but he would like to maintain the same number of tenants. However while renovations are taking place, stallholders would most likely have to move out and face loss of earnings.

An Taisce is opposed to any development of the English Market, instead favouring renovation. This option is favoured by the stallholders. Fruit and vegetable stallholder Mrs Ahern is not impressed by any plan to change the market.

It’s nicer the way it is, its homelier.

Even if Mrs Ahern was offered a shop she would not move from the market as she loves interacting with the customers visit her stall every day.

Butcher Simon O’Flynn acknowledges there is a need for some improvement, but a full scale development would completely alter the character of the market.  If he and the other stallholders had to move him out for a year for development to take place, he is convinced he would go out of business.

A ‘Tangents’ report broadcast on 18 January 1974. The reporter is Doireann Ní Bhriain.