Iluka market lockout
ILUKA markets licensee Paul Ryan doesn't mince words when it comes to politics of any persuasion - to him markets and politics don't mix.
Stating his market is a business and not a platform for protest or pushing a political agenda, Mr Ryan said he reserved the right to tell any potential stallholder to "*** off."
Clarence Valley council deputy general manager Rob Donges said that Mr Ryan had a legal right to refuse stallholders.
"We license him to hold the markets, it's his business," he said.
Mr Donges said from a legal standpoint Mr Ryan's relationship with stallholders was like a landlord and tenant relationship.
"He has total control over who he does and doesn't allow to hold a stall at the markets," he said.
During this year's state election campaign Mr Ryan denied Labor candidate for Clarence Colin Clague a stall at the Iluka markets, and he shut out Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh of the Grafton Showground Market.
The most recent example of Mr Ryan's choice not to involve politics with the markets came last week when he refused the Nimbin Environment Centre (NEC) a stall at last Sunday's Iluka market.
"I have the right to refuse entry to anyone I see fit and I told them to *** off," he said.
When The Daily Examiner called Mr Ryan yesterday to try to give him a chance to have his say on the issue he hung up.
On the second attempt Mr Ryan didn't give me a chance to get a word in, asking "are you retarded?"
Mr Ryan's mother Valma yesterday told The Daily Examiner that police were aware of threatening text messages they had received over the past two weeks.
She said members of the NEC told her son that if he refused their stall at the markets they would picket the venue and invite the media.
"They said to him we want to come down and demonstrate against coal seam gas," she said.
"When he refused they said they would come down and hold a stall selling hemp products."
She said other stallholders and customers backed Mr Ryan's stance.
"Our stallholders and the customers have said we don't want anything political at the markets."