Tuesday 27 April 2021

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has welcomed the support of regulations to assist restaurants and cafés at the Oireachtas Committee today.

The two sets of regulations which received cross-party support include the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 3) Regulations 2021, which concerns planning exemptions for restaurants to operate as takeaways for the remainder of 2021, and the Planning and Development (Street Furniture Fees) Regulations 2021 which waive the section 254 street furniture license fees for the remainder of 2021 for tables and chairs associated with outdoor dining.

A third set of Regulations, which do not require the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas, are being progressed simultaneously and provide for the erection of awnings, coverings, and other similar apparatus for outdoor dining to be a licensed activity under section 254 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended when it is linked with a street furniture licence for tables and chairs under that section.

Minister of State welcomed the news and said:

The hospitality, restaurant and tourism sector in general need us to go the extra mile this summer.  The impact of the of the pandemic on the sector can not be compared to other business who continued to trade or pivoted during the crisis.  Every support must be made available to the sector as they attempt to repair, rebuild and trade once again.

Commenting Minister O’Brien said:

We are all aware that the hospitality and restaurant sector, and indeed the wider tourism sector, have suffered the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, both this year and last year. They have been the subject of both temporary closures of business for considerable periods of time as well as other restrictions which have taken a massive toll.  We know this summer will see a lot of outdoor dining and these regulations will offer some respite to businesses who otherwise would pay significant street furniture licence fees and have to make planning applications for coverings and awnings.

Government are committed to providing necessary supports to assist these sectors as much as is possible with a view to facilitating their recovery as the current restrictions are eased and eventually lifted over the coming summer months.