€17 million outdoor dining scheme provides huge opportunity for Clare
- Scheme has long and short-term goals
- Aims to emulate successful outdoor dining in Europe
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Tourism and Aviation Cathal Crowe has welcomed the announcement of a €17 million outdoor dining grant scheme.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme comprises two parts and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Local Authorities across the country.
Part One of the scheme targets the short-term goal of providing funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity.
Funding allocated under Part Two will enable Local Authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, like those that exist in various European cities.
“I’m delighted that this scheme will operate on a nationwide basis,” said Deputy Crowe.
“A previous iteration of this scheme launched in February was largely based around urban centres and had a bias in favour of larger towns and cities. This new scheme will be national, enabling restaurants, tourism providers and local authorities to provide permanent outdoor dining areas which will help the hospitality sector during the months ahead but also long-term beyond the current pandemic situation.
“At the beginning of March, I met with a number of senior figures in Fáilte Ireland and relayed concerns to them that had been expressed to me by restaurateurs in Clare that they wouldn’t be able to derive any benefit from the scheme as it was.
“Fáilte Ireland assured me that they would have a further look at the scheme and I’m delighted by today’s news it’s to be expanded.
“Covid has shaken the bedrock of our hospitality sector and for the past 12 months it has only hung on with a thread but yet with continued supports, it could be among the first to see a bounce back as many people are already talking about how they will visit their local bar or restaurant when the country reopens.
“So, with the right supports in place we should look forward to a reasonably good summer but we have to ensure that the sector is supported until it returns to 2019 trading levels.”