Council boss is ‘exasperated’ by comments over outdoor dining

October 31st, 2020 11:40 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Many towns have areas allocated to street dining under the Council’s Project ACT initiative. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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THE chief executive of Cork County Council said he found it ‘quite exasperating’ that a councillor was asking them to outline its policy on street furniture when Project ACT is already in place to help businesses.

Tim Lucey was responding to Cllr Frank O’Flynn’s (FF) motion at last week’s Council meeting where had called for the Council to outline a clear and defined policy on street furniture for all of the county.

Cllr O’Flynn said he had received numerous calls from business owners since Level 3 restrictions were implemented.

‘We need it for our business communities and the option should be there for all bars and restaurants to trade outdoors especially in these trying times,’ said Cllr O’Flynn.

Cllr O’Flynn said that there seemed to be a mix-up at the moment in the policy especially in relation to bars and acknowledged that not all businesses will be able to provide outdoor seating.

However, Mr Lucey asked Cllr O’Flynn if he had heard of Project ACT and said he found the motion ‘unbelievable’ and almost out of touch with what is going on.

‘You would know full well that this Council is doing more than any other local authority in the county to try and encourage people to dine outdoors. And you know as well fully that we are open to any application for outdoor seating subject to the public realm being able to take it,’ said Mr Lucey.

‘It’s business as usual for us as we continue to help  businesses through Project ACT and I find it quite exasperating to think that you might not understand that.’

Cllr O’Flynn said he has chaired several Project ACT meetings and but added that since Level 3 restrictions were put in place all he was looking for is a ‘clear and definite’ policy in relation to bars.

Niall Healy, director of services for Municipal District Operations, said the level of interest in and demand for outdoor street dining furniture has become a key element in helping town centres to adapt and trade.

‘The Council is happy to engage with and support any further enquiries or applications that may arise in this regard. There has been tremendous positive feedback in relation to the outdoor street dining furniture provided to date,’ said Mr Healy.

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