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Government Unveils New Fund to Create ‘European-Style’ Outdoor Dining

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Fáilte Ireland and Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin today announced a new €17 million fund to help the hospitality sector create ‘European-style’ outdoor dining spaces. Individual businesses can apply for grants of up to €4,000, while local authorities will also be awarded grants of up to €200,000 for outdoor upgrades, including weatherproofing existing structures.

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 will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity and is designed to help them offset some of the costs incurred in upgrading premises for outdoor dining and seating.

Funding allocated under Part Two 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.

European-Style outdoor dining
Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport, Gaeltacht and Media, Catherine Martin TD, pictured with Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland and AnnMarie Farrelly, County and City Management Association (CCMA)

Minister Catherine Martin said:  “This Scheme has two main objectives: firstly, to enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and secondly to enable a long-term strategy for local authorities to develop appropriate permanent weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure. 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.”

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, added:  “I want to thank Minister Martin for securing this funding and the CCMA for its support with designing and administering it.

“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.”

Moira Murrell, Chair of the CCMA Rural Development, Community, Tourism, Culture and Heritage (RCTCH) Committee, stated: “Local Authorities are looking forward to administering this Scheme for individual businesses, as well as delivering year-round all-weather outdoor seating options to 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 re-opens. Developing outdoor infrastructure is a key element of answering the consumer demand for more flexible dining options.”

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