Seats on the street net council €500k
Dublin City Council has brought in almost €500,000 in the last 12 months for controversial licences for street furniture.
Planning permission is required for street furniture and on-site consultations with the council take place with every bar or cafe seeking a licence for tables and chairs for outdoor dining.
"More and more of the public domain is now being cluttered up and clogged by inappropriate, oversized street furniture and sandwich boards," Independent councillor Mannix Flynn told the Herald.
Dublin city chief executive Owen Keegan said that the 127 licences have brought in exactly €492,186.76 to the council in the last 12 months.
Mr Flynn has however, called on the council to make the on street furniture issue clearer as it brings in hundreds of thousands to the city's coffers every year.
"It's time for Dublin City Council to put some order on street furniture on our footpaths and protect the right of pedestrians.
"It is almost impossible in some areas of the city to just walk on the footpath - a total disregard for people with reduced mobility, the elderly, and mothers with prams and young children," said Mr Flynn.
However, the council chief Mr Keegan said that licences are issued based on the needs of everyone.
"Every city in Europe has a certain level of outdoor dining which is seen as integral to the hospitable atmosphere of a city.
"Dublin City Council is mindful of catering for businesses, diners and tourists in conjunction with the interests of vulnerable pavement and road users," said the council's CEO.
Last summer, restaurant owners hoped to see a drop in licence rates for outdoor furniture so they could afford to offer al fresco dining in fine weather, following the heatwave enjoyed during 2013.
However, there were no changes to the fee or payment structures.
For example, the annual fee per outdoor table for a restaurant or cafe is €125.
Sandwich boards are another controversial item on the city's streets, and no licences can be issued for them.
The council, following the issue of an enforcement notice, is permitted to remove these boards under law.
At the beginning of September DCC seized more than a dozen sandwich boards from shops in the Temple Bar area.
"In practice DCC responds only in cases where there are sustained complaints about a persistent offender, or where boards clearly represent an obstacle to pedestrians," said Mr Keegan.
These are held in storage and can be collected by the business owner from the holding once a fee is paid.