Fine Gael Kildare South TD and Minister Martin Heydon is calling for a waiver on the licence fee and a simplification of the planning process that is required for outdoor dining areas.

Minister Heydon said “In light of the recent announcement of €17m in grant aid to support hospitality businesses to apply for outdoor dining infrastructure, it is only practical and fair that businesses don’t get stuck or delayed with red tape and additional costs from the planning and licence fee process. Our local Kildare businesses have been closed for many months now and it is crucial that we support them in every way possible in their re-opening. Time is of the essence here as for most businesses the busy season starts in May. It would be very important that when they apply for both the financial grant and a section 254 licence that it’s turned around as quickly as possible to enable them to get up and running.”

“The hospitality sector has sustained significant losses because of Coronavirus restrictions and when pubs and restaurants do reopen the initial emphasis will be on outdoor dining. The costs associated with a Section 254 licence can vary from €125 per table to €1,250 for hoarding or fencing and it is for this reason that I am pushing for a waiver from these fees to be applied for already cash strapped businesses.

Minister Heydon added “I have written to my colleague Minister for local Government Peter Burke to highlight the need for maximum flexibility for this process, in light of the ongoing pandemic. In a recent public meeting that I hosted online with Minister with responsibility for Retail Damien English, we heard first hand the impact that restrictions have had on Kildare businesses. The introduction of a waiver from these fees would be a practical step to support the Kildare hospitality sector that has been through such a tough time and for their customers who look forward to them reopening as soon as possible.”