I set the Market Bazaar up in response to the protracted death knell of Ennis as I knew it. My father is a signwriter, we grew up in the middle of the Market and watched it change from a vibrant buzzing centre of commerce and social support to a giant car park with fewer and fewer shops, replaced by the betting shops and empty lots which pepper our towns and villages in Ireland 2.0. Unable to live with the option of doing nothing, I took what small savings I had amassed towards emigrating and bought tables, insurance and used the yard outside my dads shop as a place for a bazaar, a place where people could hopefully start their own business, make a few bob, or even just enjoy the company for a day
Before I even opened I received a letter from the Ennis Town Council. It warned me of the alleged illegal operation of a Bazaar on the property owned by my father. It went on at length to warn me of how I was liable for fines of up to €12.5 MILLION EURO or a 2 year stint in the care of the prison services of Ireland (an option that will cost the tax payer in excess of €91, 000 per annum). Yes, that’s not a typo, that is 12.5 MILLION or 12,500, 000,000 euros….Apparently I need to submit a planning application from an engineer and architect outlining the exact distribution of my fold out tables, parasols and bunting. I shall do no such thing.I cannot afford such a thing, I have no means, because remember innovation in this country is not about what you know, its how much you have.
On a day when I hear that a crook and a liar who is an elected member of our parliament is granted planning permission to build a temple to addiction and greed in Tipperary and I will instead probably end up in jail due to my inability to afford a kickass legal team. All I wanted to do was help my community, my town and my country. I have operated for a month, I am no longer afraid because I see that the laws of the land are malleable, they are subject to change, they treat everyone differently, perhaps they will treat me differently, but I doubt it.
The traders in the town are happy about my bazaar, the sellers at the bazaar are happy about the bazaar, the visitors to the bazaar are happy about the bazaar. The fact that I make no money from this and have operated at a loss thus far should make me unhappy about the bazaar but it does not, I am happy about the bazaar. I will stay open, I will defy the bureaucracy that acts on behalf of some and against others. In a country that is crying out for innovation we manage to do a very good job of suppressing it.
I grew up on a diet of Rage Against The Machine and they have not met the likes of me in Ennis town council, I fight back, I am not afraid, nothing they do will stop my dreams of a better Ennis, not strangled by rules but willing to think outside of the box and see the bigger picture. Monied’ or not.