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Dublin restaurant owners disappointed as outdoor dining plans ‘slowed down’

The money, allocated by Fáilte Ireland last September as part of the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Investment Scheme, was to be set aside to improve Merrion Row, Capel Street, and Suffolk Street in the city centre.
Dublin's Capel Street. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Dublin's Capel Street. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Dublin businesses have been left disappointed as the city council has yet to spend the €1.3 million in funding it received to transform outdoor dining spaces.

The money, allocated by Fáilte Ireland last September as part of the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Investment Scheme, was to be set aside to improve Merrion Row, Capel Street, and Suffolk Street in the city centre.

Gina Murphy, owner of Hugo's Restaurant on Merrion Row, applied for the grant but said that the plans to pedestrianise the street for outdoor dining has “slowed down” significantly.

“Our application for the grant was part of a bigger proposal that we had submitted to the council under the strategic development plan for the city,” she explained during an appearance on Newstalk Breakfast.

"That was to turn Merrion Row in a cultural corridor and a pedestrian walkway... the outdoor dining was a huge part of that.

"We were going very good guns with the council for quite some time. Then after the money was granted, sadly everything slowed down and nothing really has happened in the last nine or 10 months.”

Gina said that businesses bought outdoor seating after Dublin City Council provided additional space through footpath build-outs, but this was originally supposed to be temporary.

"The council did build the footpath build-outs for us... we put in all the screens and the planters,” she said.

"We used part of the seating grant to buy all the same furniture - tables and chairs - for all the businesses to create one-look, one overall vision for the street.

"We had them built over a year ago, thinking that they would just be temporary, especially when we got to September and we got the grant.

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"But we've had to reinstate them all for this year, because nothing had really happened with the council.

"So we had to reinvigorate everything and get everything back up and running again.”

She added that she met with the council last week and was assured that things will move forward with the grant soon.

"In fairness to them, they did say 'Look we're going to reinvigorate this and get it up and running again'.

"They're going to meet with us this week - but it was very disappointing for us, to be very honest, as the operators that nothing was really done for us".


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