Local Rep Caitríona McClean has called on South Dublin County Council to provide leadership in relation to facilitating outdoor dining in line with Government policy. ‘I notice Fingal, Dun Laoghaire, and the City have initiatives to encourage outdoor dining, their leadership on this has been on the national media. I wrote to ask if SDCC could benefit from the experience of other local authorities, and to find out how other local authorities overcame the question raised by the Council with me in relation to traffic studies’, says McClean.
Caitríona McClean is adamant about the need to support local businesses, and is convinced there is both a huge amount of local goodwill and a genuine need for people to meet up again after so many months apart in lockdown. ‘Supporting local businesses as we come out of the lockdown restrictions is imperative, and there is a huge amount of goodwill here in Lucan. I am quite sure we in Lucan do not fall short of those in Fingal and Dun Laoghaire, and Dublin city in understanding that without local businesses there would be no meaningful village. ‘ ‘People are desperate to find somewhere safe to meet up and without positive intervention at a leadership level there is little prospect for restaurants to recover this summer’ adds Caitríona.
The Government recognises this and has put moves in place to facilitate better use of outdoor space in the form of concessions and grants, but Caitríona McClean is calling on South Dublin County Council to take an extra step. ‘I have asked the Council to indicate what leadership SDCC is showing in this matter, and what can be learned from the work of other local authorities who may have a head start in this. I suggested that our Council may wish to engage directly with others who have already shown leadership to see how they grasped the nettle and understood the need for positive action.’ says Caitríona.
There are a number of options, and a whole range of possibilities in terms of timing and degree of intervention. The very successful Lucan Festival enjoys much local support for the pedestrianization of the Main St on an annual basis, but this would not be necessary for an entire day according to Caitríona McClean. The timing could be arranged so that additional seating could be provided outdoors when people are most inclined to need it, at weekend, and in the summer evenings, it has been suggested.
‘Doing nothing in my view is not the optimum. The outdoor space associated with cafes and restaurants and public houses is small when traffic is allowed to continue without any leadership initiatives from SDCC’ ‘There is no incentive for people to meet in the village, and to support businesses as things stand. In my view SDCC has a responsibility to facilitate local people in supporting businesses locally.
Otherwise, people will be obliged to meet up elsewhere.’ This is not in keeping with government policy of encouraging people to support local enterprise, McClean points out. ‘People genuinely need to meet up, and there is a huge desire to support local enterprise. We are all proud of our local businesses in Lucan and wish them well. I am calling on South Dublin County Council to provide leadership.’