Longford firms given 'lifeline' as council backs calls for cafes and restaurants to be given street furniture licence

Liam Cosgrove

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Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

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Cafes and restaurants are to be given a lifeline by being given the green light to add street furniture to their business mix

Hotels, restaurants and those engaged in Longford’s hospitality sector have been given the go ahead to add street furniture to their business mix in a bid to kickstart the local economy.

 

Longford Municipal District councillors heard last week how council chiefs have adopted a new licencing measure to support local eateries and diners re-establish themselves post Covid-19 lockdown.

Details of the new proposal, Director of Services John McKeon said, were to be made available on the council’s website as part of the Council’s overall blueprint to support hard-pressed local ratepayers.

They were opinions which were greeted with unanimous approval by those watching on from the floor.

“It’s hugely welcome,” said Fianna Fáil’s Seamus Butler, adding the measure would be especially beneficial to ensure their business was not overly compromised by social distancing protocols.

“It could be a lifeline to some businesses that would otherwise be marginalised.”

A local businessman himself, Cllr Butler said the decision by high ranking council officials to refrain from hitting local businesses in the pocket underlined the Council’s all-round “pro-business” attitude.

“The fact we (Council) are not charging any fees for it (street furniture licence) is sending out the right message,” he said.
“It’s things like this that could mean the difference between a business reopening and not.”

Cllr Gerry Warnock agreed, saying the initiative could not be more timely given the pressures facing small eateries.
Newly installed Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan followed suit by insisting the council were very much behind struggling firms in the face of almost three months of incessant lockdown. “Anything that can be done, will be done,” she confided.

“Longford Municipal District and its members will do everything in its power to support local business because they need it now more than ever.”

The long serving Fine Gael local representative urged local businesses to make contact with the council directly and pledged to “hand hold” those struggling to access the new measure if required.