Market comments an insult to town

Dear Editor

As proposer for the recent application to hold an occasional market on Newry Street, Banbridge, I would like the opportunity to respond to comments made by Mr John Dobson in last week’s paper.

To state that this market had not been researched or invited, and that idea came from myself (alone), can only lead one to believe that Mr Dobson doesn’t carry out much research himself.

I researched this concept and conducted various feasibility studies for locations and days of the week, at the request of a few people via social media because a previous application was turned down. Risk assessments and a traffic management plan were submitted to the PSNI for consultation before being presented to the council.

As solicitor to Banbridge Council and (by default) the ratepayers of Banbridge, Mr Dobson would be aware of the previous application and has had access to the proposal which I presented to the council. He has had plenty of opportunity to digest this information for both clarity and any inaccuracies.

Mr Dobson is a highly respected member of the legal profession and the local community. An intelligent man with letters after his name. Many would consider Mr Dobson, and indeed, would believe himself, to be a reasonable man. With his legal background he would also be very aware of the legal definition of reasonableness, which is: “A reasoning or decision is Wednesbury unreasonable (or irrational) if it is so unreasonable that no reasonable person acting reasonably could have made it.”

As the proposer, I have difficulty accepting Mr Dobson’s reasoning and feel he has insulted both myself, and the majority of the Banbridge people and traders who are in support of the market with his ill-founded attacks and scurrilous remarks.

I would like to put the following questions to Mr Dobson:

Is it reasonable for a man of your stature and standing in the community to call the local public and the Seventeen town centre traders “Piggies” because they support an idea to bring additional footfall and trade to the town centre?

At least 30% of space in the market was to be reserved for local business’ to trade on Newry St. Is it reasonable that you make innuendo’s directed at these business’s, insinuating they are travellers as opposed to settled?

As a columnist for Banbridge Leader, is it reasonable to assume this is also the stance of Banbridge Leader ?

As solicitor for Banbridge Council and the ratepayers of Banbridge, any comment you make on any matter which may be subject to future litigation must be inferred to be the official comment of the Council and the ratepayers… Is it reasonable that you make these comments in this capacity?

Can you clarify that this is now the official policy for the council and ratepayers on this matter ?

If not, can you confirm that you no longer act for Banbridge Council and ratepayers ?

It is my belief Mr Dobson, your position as solicitor to Banbridge council, the ratepayers, and your column in Banbridge Leader has now become untenable and you should do the honourable thing and get your nose out of the trough.

Mr Dobson, and others may believe that I am ‘splitting hairs’ with the questions above. Mr Dobson makes his living by splitting hairs and playing on people’s words. It’s what he has studied and trained for. Mr Dobson is an intelligent, reasonable man. A man with letters after his name.

Brian McCaffrey. LLB (QUB)

EDITOR’S NOTE:- I would point out the opinions expressed in John Dobson’s column are entirely his own. The Banbridge Leader has a neutral stance on the Sunday market issue. It is simply our job to reflect the views and opinions or those involved on both sides of this story.