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News & Events

Minister Humphreys launches public consultation on the Casual Trading Act 1995 and the Occasional Trading Act 1979

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, today launched a public consultation on the Casual Trading Act 1995 and the Occasional Trading Act 1979. The purpose of the public consultation is to determine the fitness for purpose of both Acts.

Commenting on the public consultation, Minister Humphreys said:

“Both pieces of legislation have been on the statute book now for a number of years and given the changes in retail and trading environments, I consider it an opportune time to review both pieces of legislation to examine if they are still fit for purpose. The consultation seeks the views of interested parties on matters relating to both Acts.

I want to get the widest range of views possible and I would urge interested parties - local, regulatory and representative authorities, consumers, casual and occasional traders and anyone engaged in or with an interest in trading in public and private areas - to make use of the consultation period.”

Today’s announcement coincides with the Minister recently signing into law the new European Union (Casual Trading Act 1995) Regulations (S.I. No. 308 of 2018) which amend the Casual Trading Act 1995 in 3 specific areas where it was required to be updated in line with the Services Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC). The Regulations can be accessed on the Department’s website at dbei.gov.ie/en/Legislation/Legislation-Files/SI-No-308-of-2018.pdf.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, press.office@dbei.gov.ie or (01) 631-2200

Note for editors

Public Consultation

The consultation is open to the public until 31 October 2018 and full details of the consultation can be found on the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation here: Public Consultation on the Casual Trading Act 1995 and the Occasional Trading Act 1979

The consultation seeks the views of interested parties on matters relating to:

  • the scope and exemptions currently provided for in both Acts,
  • the process of issuing casual trading licences and occasional trading permits,
  • protection for consumers using casual trading areas,
  • the position of ‘farmers markets’ and ancient market rights to trade vis-à-vis the operation of casual trading legislation,
  • prominence of occasional trading, and
  • compliance and enforcement patterns for casual trading licences and occasional trading permits.


Casual Trading Act 1995

The Casual Trading Act, 1995 is the successor to the Casual Trading Act, 1980 and its purpose is to provide for a control and regulatory system for people trading in public places.

Links to the legislation and accompanying S.I.s are as follows:


Casual trading is defined in Section 2 of the Act as:

“selling goods at a place (including a public road) to which the public has access as of right or at any other place that is a casual trading area.”.

Casual trading includes trading stalls at daily/weekly public markets (“market trading”), trading at once-off or annual events such as concerts and festivals (“event trading”), and on-street trading e.g. selling certain fruit/vegetables and other products at the side of a road (“street trading”).

Under section 2(2) of the Act, auctions, door-to-door selling, sales for charitable purposes and selling by a grower of certain soft fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries and currants) and certain vegetables (potatoes) during the period 1 May to 30 September are exempt.

The Act devolves the administration of casual trading from a national level to the local authorities and the 1995 Act requires that local authorities make bye-laws governing casual trading.  These bye laws can be used by local authorities to designate casual trading areas and set the size of pitches etc.  The Act is enforced by authorised officers appointed by local authorities and by An Garda Síochána. 

Occasional Trading Act 1979

The purpose of the Occasional Trading Act, 1979 is to provide for a control and regulatory system for people involved in occasional trading.

Link to the legislation on the statute book is as follows:


Occasional trading is defined in Section 2 of the Act as:

“selling goods by retail at a premises or place (not being a public road or other place to which the public have access as of right) of which the person so selling has been in occupation for a continuous period of less than three months ending on the date of such selling.”.

Section 2(2) of the Act provides that the following types of selling are not included in the definition for the purposes of occasional trading:

  • selling by auction (other than by Dutch auction) by the holder of a licence or permit for the time being in force under the Auctioneers and House Agents Acts, 1947 to 1973,
  • selling at a trade, commercial, agricultural or industrial fair or show that is held wholly or mainly for a purpose other than the selling of goods,
  • selling of agricultural or horticultural produce (including livestock) by the producer thereof or his servants or agents acting as such,
  • selling to a person at, or at a place adjacent to, the place where he resides or carries on business,
  • selling by or on behalf of the State or a Minister of the Government,
  • selling of ice-cream, sweets, chocolate confectionery, cooked foods (other than those cooked at the place of sale), fruit or non-alcoholic beverages from a tray, basket, barrow, trolley or other similar device at an event to which the public are admitted whether subject to or free of charge, or on the day on which, and at or in the immediate vicinity of the place at which, there takes place, such an event,
  • selling of ice-cream  (with or without wafers, biscuits or cornets), newspapers, periodicals, magazines or other printed matter or pious or religious objects,
  • selling of fish,
  • selling, the profits of  which are used for charitable or other purposes from which no private profit is derived or intended to be derived, and
  • selling of hand-crafted  goods by the maker thereof or the spouse or child of such maker.

Under the current Act, occasional traders may only trade once they have been issued a permit by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  The permit is specific to a certain place and date, and under the Act must be applied for at least 30 days in advance of the event.  A person guilty of an offence under the Act may face fines and imprisonment and the Act is enforced by authorised officers from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

European Union (Casual Trading Act 1995) Regulations (S.I. No. 308 of 2018)

These Regulations align the Casual Trading Act 1995 with certain provisions of the EU Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market for the benefit of traders.  The specific provisions in the Casual Trading Act 1995 relate to:

  • selection procedures used by local authorities in issuing licences (selection procedures cannot be arbitrary),
  • the issue of charges and fees (fees shall be reasonable and proportionate to the cost of administering the scheme), and
  • the duration of casual trading licences (provides for the issue of licences of an unlimited duration in certain circumstances).

Links to the Services Directive, the European Union (Provision of Services) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 533 of 2010) and the European Union (Casual Trading Act 1995) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 308 of 2018) as follows: