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05th May 2021

Eamon Ryan says plan for 3,000-person outdoor dining area in Temple Bar “does make sense”

Clara Kelly

Outdoor dining looks set to be a feature of the Irish social life this summer.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has given his backing to a plan proposed by the Temple Bar Company (TBC) which would see a 3,000-person outdoor dining space created in Temple Bar.

According to the Irish Times, plans for outdoor seating areas for restaurants and pubs on 17 streets in the city will shortly be submitted to Dublin City Council.

Last December, Dublin City Council refused to permit a similar outdoor seating plan in parts of Temple Bar.

Preliminary plans drafted by the business group propose the use of pedestrian squares, loading bays, footpaths and the potential requisitioning of road space to add tables and chairs for up to 3,000 diners.

Speaking after an extra €5m was allocated to tackle the increasing litter problem in urban areas on Wednesday, Ryan said: “It is a fairly extensive area Temple Bar.”

“If you go right the way from the Civic Offices right down to Fleet Street, that is a very extensive area so I think it does make sense, as long as it can be done in a safe way.”

The largest number of seating areas is expected on Fleet Street, where 820 seats are proposed on the footpaths, loading bays, and the roadway on both sides of the street.

The next largest number of diners is proposed for Parliament Street, where 548 seats could be designated if paths, loading bays, and the roadway were used.

Essex Street East, at the back of the Clarence Hotel, could potentially seat 482 people, while Meeting House Square could hold 400 and Temple Bar Square could possibly hold 296.

The proposals for Temple Bar come after a €17 million fund to help businesses that serve food to pay for more outdoor seating was announced last month.

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Fáilte Ireland announced the details of the scheme, which aims to develop outdoor capacity for food businesses with the help of local authorities.

It’s a two-part scheme which, in the short term, will focus on helping businesses expand their outdoor seating and dining capacity and, in the long-term, will “develop appropriate permanent weather-proofed outdoor dining infrastructure”.

“The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns into welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery,” Martin said.

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