The Irish Government is set to invest €17 million to allow local authorities and businesses to create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining.
After a year that has devastated Ireland’s hospitality industry, the announcement of a €17 million investment to create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining will be welcomed by many pub and restaurant owners.
Businesses across Ireland will be able to apply for grants of up to €4,000 each to be invested in outdoor seating and other amenities.
Following Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s announcement on Tuesday outlining Ireland’s roadmap out of lockdown, the plans to invest €17 million to create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining will be an extra boost for Ireland’s hospitality industry.
A major investment – outdoor dining in Ireland
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland announced the details of the two-part scheme on Wednesday, which will focus on several initiatives to assist businesses across Ireland.
In the short term, the scheme will be available to individual tourism and hospitality businesses, such as cafes, hotels, restaurants, and attractions where food is sold to allow them to expand their capacity for outdoor seating and dining.
The €17 million investment to create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining will look at measures to develop a sufficient permanent outdoor dining and waterproofing infrastructure in the long-term.
Assistance for Irish tourism – learning to adapt
Announcing details of the €17 million investment to create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining, Ms 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.”
The scheme is one of several areas outlined by Ms Martin, which included the reopening of zoos, outdoor attractions, and heritage sites and the possible reopening of museums and galleries in May.
Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said that he hopes the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme will help “offset some of the costs incurred in upgrading premises for outdoor dining and seating.”
He continued, “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.”
What is available? – applications for assistance
Initial applications for part one of the funding scheme will be accepted from tourism and hospitality businesses from 12 April through local authority websites.
Available grants will average around €4,000 and can be used to cover expenses incurred since April 2020 to cover the costs of outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas, electric heaters, screens or windbreaks, plant stands, and wooden platforms.
Part two of the scheme will see grants of up to €200,000 available to local authorities for investment in waterproofing and creating a permanent outdoor dining infrastructure.
The investment of €17 million to create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining is hoped to help Ireland’s struggling hospitality industry to recover from the current COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it is hoped that the creation of a permanent outdoor dining infrastructure will prove popular with both tourists from within Ireland and from further afield.