New scheme to increase outdoor dining capacity in Longford

Minister Peter Burke will work with Longford County Council as Minister for Local Government

News Reporter


News Reporter


New scheme to increase outdoor dining capacity in Longford

A new scheme delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Longford County Council will help tourism and hospitality businesses in Westmeath to develop and increase their outdoor seating capacity, the Fine Gael Minister for Planning and Local Government has said.

Funding allocated under the scheme will also enable Local Authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres across the country, similar to those that exist in various European cities.  

Peter Burke said: “Earlier this week, government launched a new policy entitled Our Rural Future, the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in decades.

“Developing outdoor dining and socialising spaces will help to improve the vibrancy of our towns across Longford and bring them more in line with the European model. This is a key commitment in our new policy.

“Today’s announcement regarding the new Outdoor Dining Scheme has two aims. It will enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses to increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and will also create a long-term strategy for our local authority to develop appropriate, permanent, weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure in Longford.

“This will support jobs and businesses and transform appropriate outdoor spaces across Longford as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.”

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin TD and Fáilte Ireland announced details of the new €17million Scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide this morning. 

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.  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.   

Minister Martinis today officially launching the Scheme, which opens for initial  applications on April 12. 

Announcing the Scheme 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.  Part One of the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme relates to Outdoor Seating and Accessories to help tourism and hospitality businesses offset some of the costs incurred in upgrading premises for outdoor dining and seating. Part Two of the Scheme relates to Weatherproofing and Outdoor Dining Infrastructure which focuses on the development of medium to large scale permanent public dining spaces in towns and centres in preparation for welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so.  Each Local Authority can apply for  up to €200,000 under this element of the scheme.  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.” 

Read also: 'Our Rural Future' will help develop and revitalise communities all across Longford