Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

06.44 21 Jun 2021


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The Government's being urged to "step in" to fix rules around outdoor dining for pubs and restaurants.

It comes after it emerged pubs and restaurants are not legally allowed to serve alcohol in many outdoor seating areas.

With indoor dining not allowed until at least July 5th, councils across the country have introduced extended outdoor seating areas on paths and streets.

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Councils have given special permission for businesses to use these spaces.

In cities such as Dublin, authorities have even pedestrianised several prominent streets in a bid to make more space available.

However, gardaí say drinking alcohol in temporary outdoor seating areas isn't allowed if restaurants and pubs don't have the necessary licence.

It says alcohol licences issued by the courts are granted for a ‘specified area’ only.

The force says businesses can only serve drinks on a takeaway basis when it’s not within the designated, licensed area.

A Garda spokesperson says the “vast majority of licensed premises have acted responsibly and in line with public health guidelines”.

Reacting to the statement, Justice Minister Heather Humphreys said gardaí “will engage with licensed premises and will use their discretion”.

However, Restaurants Association Chief Executive Adrian Cummins says the Government needs to intervene and clear up the confusion.

He said: “We want the Government to step in and give an order so that outdoor hospitality can operate, right across the country.

“This has to be fixed as soon as possible, or else the Government now needs to fast-forward the reopening of indoor dining.

“This is totally confusing now for hospitality businesses across the country. Businesses want to do the right thing, and make sure they implement the rules and guidelines as per the public health guidelines.”

It comes amid warnings that some street furniture is also making navigation extremely difficult for the visually impaired.

Main image: Outdoor dining in Dublin. Photo Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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