Tyrone’s most historic market bounces back

Aughnacloy market in its heyday
Aughnacloy market in its heyday

One of Ulster’s most historic markets has rebounded in spite of fears that increased trader charges would be its death knell.

Aughnacloy market, which is one of the oldest in the province, was in danger of closing after proposals were made last year to raise charges placed on traders to pitch their stalls.

The market, which takes place on the first and third Wednesday of each month, has brought people into the town for over a century and is beneficial to stall holders along with other businesses within the village.

Former Ulster Unionist Party Councillor Jim Hamilton stated the market would have been ‘spoiled’ if the proposal had went ahead as traders had threatened to pack up their stalls and leave unless the fee to pitch a stall was lowered.

Steps were taken to protect the market and the new legislation was prevented as concerns were voiced over the detrimental effect the increase would have on Aughnacloy.

Hamilton, who has campaigned in the past to promote the market, commented that it is now doing ‘very well and is back to normal trade’.

Mid Ulster Councillor, Frances Burton, said the market was a valuable attraction for people passing through Aughnacloy, benefitting local shops and restaurants.

Burton said that she, as a councillor, is lobbying to protect and promote the market in Aughnacloy and is trying to gain funding and involve Flavour of Tyrone which she believes would increase the variety of stalls and extend the interest to more people.

“Many people see markets as a thing of the past but I disagree. The market is a great attraction, especially in quite a rural area, to draw people into the town and profit businesses”, she said.

She said the market ‘needs to be more creative to draw in stall holders’.

The DUP representative added that the market can be used to promote recycling in the area as car boot sales are a great way for people to get rid of unwanted items instead of dumping them elsewhere. She also noted that the car boot sales are a way in which people can be resourceful during times of economic difficulty. She would love to see the market’s numbers return to former glory and wishes the market well.