Limerick Market Trustees €28,000 loss leads to calls for reform

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

CALLS have intensified for the Limerick Chamber to be stripped of its role managing the Milk Market after a €28,000 loss was recorded in the trustee’s accounts.

CALLS have intensified for the Limerick Chamber to be stripped of its role managing the Milk Market after a €28,000 loss was recorded in the trustee’s accounts.

Figures obtained by the Limerick Leader show the Market Trustees - whose main role is related to the iconic Milk Market - recorded a loss of €28,173 following the third quarter of 2011.

This comes despite the Trustees bringing in almost €250,000 from the markets, its car parks, and the concerts the Denmark Street venue holds.

It has led to renewed calls for the Chamber’s €60,000-a-year fee to be scrapped - something Labour councillor Tom Shortt hopes will happen as early as this month.

When the Market Trustees met for the first time in more than six months last Friday, Cllr Shortt was ready to bring a motion calling on the termination of the Chamber’s contract forward.

But this item was deferred until the next meeting of the trustees, set for later this month. At present, the Chamber’s contract with the Trustees see them manage and administer the market. But a permanent manager is in place in the shape of David O’Brien.

“The Market Trustees must stop paying large sums of borrowed money to the Chamber. The failure of the Trustees on Friday to work through the backlog of business that had piled up was evidence they simply are not getting a proper return for the €60,000 per annum paid to the Chamber. It is an area where savings will have to be made at a time when the refurbished Milk Market has not yet broken even,” Cllr Shortt told the Limerick Leader.

In the first three quarters of 2011, the Limerick Market Trustees earned €241,735 - including €83,000 from the car park, and another €28,980 from the concerts.

But it’s outgoings totalled €269,308 - including €62,045 on administrative costs to the Chamber, and €41,840 in marketing costs.

Former manager of the Milk Market, Tom Toomey stopped short of calling for the Chamber to be cut out of the picture altogether - but he wants to see their role altered to ensure the best interests of the market are served.

Mr Toomey, who managed the market from 2003 until last year, said: “In an ideal world, the market must balance its books. I think the trustees are well capable of running this thing.”

However, he suggested a compromise agreement in that the Chamber’s responsibilities - and payment - are reduced.

The next meeting of the Limerick Market Trustees will take place on Tuesday, April 24.