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Outdoor dining in two towns gets green light to continue – for now

October 9th, 2020 5:50 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Enjoying a cuppa at the outdoor seating at Bridge Lane in Bandon were Mary Crowley, Patricia Essex, Charles Crowley and Phil Lyons. The brother and sisters hadn’t met since lockdown until they got a chance to avail of the new seating area in the town. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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OUTDOOR dining will continue in Bandon and Kinsale for the immediate future, councillors agreed at a municipal district meeting.

Cllr Marie O’Sullivan (FG), who herself runs her own café in Kinsale, raised the motion at a recent Bandon Kinsale Municipal District meeting and said that many businesses would like to the see the continuation of outdoor seating.

‘Project ACT has been a huge success and outdoor dining has also been incredible, and it meant that many of our hospitality businesses have been able to open their doors,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.

Cllr O’Sullivan added that the future is ‘mentally challenging’ for all business owners with Covid fears rising again.

‘All we’re asking for is a bit of a reprieve and it would be vital for us to be allowed to still operate outside the curtilage of our premises for the foreseeable future,’ she said.

Cllr O’Sullivan said she has also been contacted by other businesses that want to put up awnings outside their shops to offer protection from the weather for their customers, who may have to queue and social-distance outside.

Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) supported the motion and said that any help that they can give to businesses to help them stay in business has to be done.

‘Maybe Cork County Council could come in with some grant funding for outdoor heaters or awnings to help these businesses, like the scheme being run by Cork City Council,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.

His colleague, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, said that people are looking for safe places to go for recreation and that demand for this will only rise over the winter.

‘Kinsale is a destination and we as Cork County Council should be prepared for that and support businesses with that with guidance,’ said Cllr Coughlan.

Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) said  that if ‘we go back to the old status quo we will never get back to where we are now.’

‘We have to save what we got at this stage and we should continue to support outdoor dining,’ said Cllr Coleman.

Senior executive engineer Charlie McCarthy said he had no issue with extending it, but did point out that there would be an issue with Bridge Lane in Bandon as that area will be needed for a diversion route as part of the town’s main drainage works.

Executive engineer Brendan Fehily said the measures in Kinsale have been a huge success but added that they are moving into a different phase as regards outdoor dining, due to the weather.

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