-Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will support new approaches supporting outdoor dining-
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed the announcement of a €17million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme announced by Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and local authorities across the country. One part of the scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity. Funding under a second part of the scheme will enable local authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “This is a very good announcement which will help many businesses once they are in a position to reopen. I acknowledge that the hospitality sector are in a very difficult position and are looking for clarity as to when they might reopen. Unfortunately the Government are not yet in a position to provide this clarity but when we are able to do so we will ensure supports are in place to help businesses.
“My own Department is examining ways in which we can work with Local Authorities to support businesses in adapting new approaches to facilitate economic recovery and increased commercial activity in urban areas, including in relation to supporting outdoor dining at hotels, restaurants, pubs and other establishments as well as allowing restaurants to operate as takeaways for the current year without having to apply for change of use planning permission.
“We know we can’t depend on the weather here in Ireland and so local authorities will be able to apply for funding to develop permanent public dining spaces in specially zoned streets in towns and cities. This will facilitate weather-proofing to allow outdoor dining all year-round with parasols, wind breakers and electric heaters.
“This is just another small measure which Government are taking to help struggling businesses. When the time comes for the industry to reopen again we want to ensure they are supported in doing so to the fullest extent possible,” he concluded.