Cork County Council has traditionally charged Piper’s funfair an exceptionally modest rent for occupation of a popular town centre carpark in Kinsale. The carpark is sizable, with capacity for up to 50 vehicles and the Piper funfair has operated from this site for a long period of time. The Piper family engaged in discussions with the Council during 2019 to update and regularise the annual arrangement for the funfair and the formal proposals included specific increases to the charge starting in 2019. Regrettably, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Piper Funfair was not able to occupy site in 2020 or 2021. The Piper family indicated earlier this year that they wished to return to Kinsale for the summer of 2022 and their attention was drawn to the previously discussed rental changes, which contain the rent significantly below market levels but reflect a necessary contribution for services which are provided by the Council in Kinsale. These services are partly funded through commercial rates which is a tax incurred by local businesses and is an important source of funding for the Council to provide essential services, maintain public spaces, and provide amenities including carparks, public conveniences and litter bins. As the funfair does not incur commercial rates during the temporary occupation of the carpark the income from the rental is applied to support the services which are available for visitors to the funfair. The funfair is traditional to the site and a unique offering for the town residents and visitors and it is in this context that the rent payment has been, and continues to be, heavily subsidised. The rent proposed for 2022 is a nominal charge in the context of commercial rents incurred by ratepayers in the town.
The Council engaged in a legal process, which was initiated by the owners of a caravan previously parked in the Short Quay, to address the owners right to occupy the public area and the owner of the caravan subsequently removed the caravan on a voluntary basis. It is normal and appropriate for the Council to refute unestablished claims to permanently occupy public areas or un substantiated claims of ownership