New Outdoor Dining Scheme positive but longer-term plan needed says O’Sullivan

Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová on Unsplash

A new €17 million grant scheme to allow tourism and hospitality businesses to develop outdoor dining capacity will help prepare businesses for reopening, but more work is needed to provide struggling businesses with long-term certainty according to Cork South West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan 

 The government’s Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme launched this week comprises two parts, and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Local Authorities across the country.

 “This scheme serves two purposes – in the near term it will allow businesses to offset the cost of building this outdoor dining and increase their capacity, and in the long term it will allow local authorities to develop a strategy to develop permanent, weather-proofed, outdoor dining infrastructure,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.

 “Developing outdoor infrastructure is key to answering consumer demand for more flexible dining options. When the sector re-opens, enhanced outdoor dining will provide an attractive option to locals and visitors alike.”

 The scheme comes in two parts: 1) Grants are available for tourism and hospitality businesses and 2) funding for Local Authorities to develop permanent longterm outdoor facilities.

 Deputy O’Sullivan said while the scheme will help reinvigorate spaces and make them more attractive to visitors in the long term, more work is needed give the hospitality sector certainty for the future. 

 “I appreciate the impact of this will have its limitations, as there are a number of premises, particularly in this constituency, that do not have scope for outdoor dining. There has to measures introduced to facilitate those premises as well,” Deputy O’Sullivan said. 

 “First and foremost, what’s needed here above any funding is a solid plan for the hospitality sector; for restaurants, for cafes, for hotels, for pubs. That’s what’s needed more than anything, as these businesses crave certainty. That’s something I will continue to shout for.”

The Scheme opens for initial applications on April 12, 2021.

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