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Ireland follows European model of outdoor dining, Source: Fáilte Ireland / Facebook

Ireland launches EUR 17 million Outdoor Dining Scheme

Ireland launches EUR 17 million Outdoor Dining Scheme

Funding will be provided for individual businesses and local authorities to upgrade and develop permanent outdoor catering facilities

The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme, which was officially launched last week, would open for initial applications on 12 April, Fáilte Ireland has announced. The date coincides with the commencement of the phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions across Ireland. 

European model

The new EUR 17 million funding scheme, designed by the tourism authority in cooperation with the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and local authorities, is aimed at developing permanent outdoor catering capacity nationwide. 

The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme is split into two parts. Part One targets individual tourism and hospitality businesses which will receive funding to upgrade and increase their own outdoor seating capacity in the short term. Part Two will enable a long-term strategy for local authorities to set up year-round, weatherproof outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, following the example of various European cities. Under this element of the scheme, each Local Authority can apply for up to EUR 200,000. 

“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,” Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said while announcing the scheme, quoted by Fáilte Ireland’s website. She added that the funding announcement further strengthens the government’s commitment to the rebirth of rural towns, as outlined in the ‘Our Rural Future’ plan. 

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland remarked during the launch of the scheme that Part One will help tourism and hospitality businesses offset some of the costs incurred in upgrading premises for outdoor dining and seating, which was necessitated by Covid-19 mitigation rules. 

Benefiting locals and tourists 

Moira Murrell, Chair of the CCMA Rural Development, Community, Tourism, Culture and Heritage 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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