herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

City council collects €450k in fees for pub, cafe and restaurant street tables

business

Street cafe South William Street
Street cafe South William Street

Dublin City Council raked in almost half-a-million euro last year from charging bars, cafes and restaurants to place tables and chairs outside their premises.

Figures show the council collected €451,619 in street furniture fees.

City businesses currently pay €125 per table, a €100 annual fee and additional charges in pedestrian zones.

Planning permission is needed for street furniture, and council officials carry out on-site consultations at every establishment seeking a licence for outdoor furniture.

The 2014 figure is a slight decrease from the previous year, when the council netted €492,186.76 from 127 licences.

Fianna Fail councillor Paul McAuliffe has described the charges as "daft", saying they are an unnecessary burden on city centre businesses that are struggling with high operating costs.

"Obviously the council needs to regulate street furniture to ensure disability access and to prevent any one business overly encroaching on the public domain," he said.

"However, these charges and the bureaucratic process for approval seem daft."

Mr McAuliffe also called for a review of the approval process, as well as the charging criteria and the parts of the city where the rules apply.

seasons

Munya Mutya, a manager at the Busyfeet & Coco Cafe on South William Street, feels that although the charges are necessary, they should reflect the demand for outdoor dining during different seasons.

"The fee is okay, but it's an annual charge which means you're still paying for furniture outside during the winter when it's not being used," he said.

"It would make more sense to split it up into seasons, because the only time you get value from the charge is during the summer months."

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