Ireland is set to see the development of permanent European-style outdoor dining across the country, with the aid of €17 million in State funding.
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland announced the details of a new scheme to develop the outdoor dining capacity in partnership with local authorities on Wednesday.
The two-part scheme will first see funding in the form of grants for individual tourism and hospitality businesses, to increase their own outdoor seating capacity in the short-term.
Further funding will be allocated to allow local authorities to develop permanent and weatherproofed outdoor public dining spaces, similar to those that exist in various European cities.
The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns
Minister Martin said: “The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.
“This funding announcement further strengthens this Government’s commitment to the development of rural towns, as outlined in the ‘Our Rural Future’ plan announced earlier this week.”
Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) Tourism Committee, Moira Murrell, said the new facilities will “boost the appeal and attractiveness of our cities and towns.”
“Following the success of the street furniture grant scheme, implemented by some local authorities in 2020, we look forward to creating outdoor dining experiences around the country that not only benefit locals, but are also attractive to domestic and overseas visitors when the sector reopens.
“Developing outdoor infrastructure is a key element of answering the consumer demand for more flexible dining options.”
Part one of the funding scheme will open for initial applications from tourism and hospitality businesses on April 12th through local authority websites.
Applicants can apply for a grant of up to €4,000 to cover the costs of outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas, electric heaters, screens or windbreaks, plant stands and wooden platforms.
The funding is open to all businesses where food is sold for consumption on the premises, including hotels, attractions, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
Chief executive of Fáilte Ireland, Paul Kelly, said part two of the scheme will allow local authorities to upgrade and weatherproof public dining spaces “in preparation for welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so.”
“Each local authority can apply for up to €200,000 under this element of the scheme,” he said.
“We have been working closely with the County and City Management Association (CCMA) on behalf of the local authorities to design a scheme that will be efficient and practical. We look forward to seeing the results across the country.”