Longford Council can develop county wide outdoor seating plans with €200k grant

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Longford/Westmeath Fianna Fáil general election candidate Joe Flaherty

A new scheme delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Longford County Council will help tourism and hospitality businesses in Longford to develop and increase their outdoor seating capacity. 

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.   

Longford Senator Micheál Carrigy 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.” 

Meanwhile, Longford/Westmeath TD Joe Flaherty has asked Longford Co Council to target a county wide application under the €200,000 Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme. The Council will also be asked to administer a further €200,000 in individual grants to hospitality businesses looking to expand their outdoor capacity.

The scheme allows the Council develop outdoor seating in two locations but Deputy Flaherty is hopeful that smaller counties such as Longford will be allowed to tweak this to include additional locations.

The Longford TD believes that the €400k in funding is an excellent opportunity to help the  beleaguered sector back on its feet and he said: “There is an opportunity for the Council to develop on street seating and dining areas across the five main towns at the expense of on street parking. If it is  co-ordinated by the Council, there is a uniformity of design and it will be easier to control and manage.

“This is a great chance to  enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and secondly to enable   the Co Council to develop an appropriate permanent weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure county wide.”

Businesses applying for the individual grant will be able to recoup any expenditure on outdoor infra-structure since April 2020. This can include seating,  heating and making out an outdoor dining area or alternatively proposed works.” Applications for the €4k can be made through the Council website after April 12.

Flaherty said that the business community will need a series of supports and measures to get them back up on running and this is  latest in a suite of measures to help this recalibration. He urged any businesses keen for more information on the scheme to contact him on 086 8201261 or joe.flaherty@oireachtas.ie.

Read also: New scheme to increase outdoor dining capacity in Longford