Ineligibility of publicans to apply for outdoor dining grants from the Irish Government has been slammed as “short-sighted”.
Speaking at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District on Tuesday, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) said the Government were “very short-sighted” by failing to include publicans in the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme.
“It isn’t about having the pint or what have you but it is about a key selling point, it is the craic and the ceol,” she stated.
€17m has been set aside for the scheme which is comprised of 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.
Cllr Mary Howard (FG) welcomed the announcement of the grant, “we have to change the way we live our lives to stay safe”.
However, she was also annoyed by the criteria. “I have a huge issue that there has been no mention whatsoever of what they call ‘wet pubs’. The Irish pub is integral to the experience of many people. It is time we stood up and spoke for publicans, they have been very unfairly treated, they are huge employers and for many of us our first job was collecting glasses. Wet pubs is a horrible phrase”.
Ennis Chamber have also criticised the omission. “We welcome grants for outdoor dining in support of restaurants & hotels. But what about ‘wet’ bars? Only show in town for them this summer is outdoors too. It’s unfair to exclude them from grant supports. Is this good bye to town & city pubs. Who will tell the Tourists,” a spokesperson stated.