COUNCILLORS have urged the local authority to engage with business owners in Kinsale after it emerged that some of them have had their licences for outdoor dining revoked.
At last week’s Western Committee meeting, Cllr Marie O’Sullivan (FG) raised her concerns after being contacted by a number of business operators in the town.
She noted that the Council has been exemplary in supporting and helping businesses during Covid and wished for that to continue in some form or another into the future.
‘We’re heading into a busy summer season but with the costs of everything going up businesses really need their outdoor dining areas to be able to operate at a profit or otherwise we will see businesses closing,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan, who called on the local office to engage with the concerned businesses.
‘It’s very worrying and with staffing currently an issue too, some businesses can only open for five days a week so they literally have to have maximum bums on seats.’
Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) agreed with Cllr O’ Sullivan and said the development of outdoor dining was a ‘huge win’ as a result of the pandemic and said that Project Act accelerated co-operation between businesses on the street and the Council.
‘I think this is a retrograde step where we are revoking outdoor licences by return of post without engaging with the businesses themselves and they should be consulted,’ said Cllr Coleman.
‘We should continue the type of collaborate approach that Project Act brought in rather than the old way of doing things. I appeal to the executive to engage with businesses and come up with a compromise and hopefully we can continue with outdoor dining which worked very well for the last number of years.
Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) concurred and said a lot of these businesses were forced to close during Covid and haven’t fully recovered yet so badly need outdoor dining to help them stay in business.
‘Also some people still prefer to dine outdoors rather than go indoors with Covid still about. These are the ratepayers and we need to support them and outdoor dining should be encouraged,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.
‘There were grants available for outdoor furniture and it makes it a bit of a mockery that they have the furniture now but no outdoor licence to operate,’ he added.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) also supported the call and said there must be some reasons why some businesses had their outdoor licences revoked and asked to find out what these were.
Senior executive officer Mac Dara O h-Icí said he wasn’t aware of any issues relating to the revoking of some licences but would look into it.