On-street dining will return to Galway for the summer months.
Galway City Council has announced plans to close six city streets from April 9 to October 31, to make space for “outdoor dining, festivals and events”.
The move has been welcomed by local representatives and those involved in the hospitality sector.
The measure was “phenomenally successful”, when brought in last summer, said Johnny Duggan, Chair of the Galway branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland.
“We would expect this year to be more successful, as international tourism will be back this year and the city centre will benefit from the extra capacity at peak times,” said Mr Duggan.
The council has published notices to bring Forster Street down to single lane, from College Road to Eyre Square, on a 24/7 basis during the six-month period.
The Small Crane will be closed from New Street West to William Street West, also on a 24/7 basis, as will Woodquay from Daly’s Place to Headford Road, but local access will be maintained there.
Galway City Council intends to close Ravens Terrace from Fairhill Road Upper to Fr Griffin Road, but only between 4pm-11:30pm.
The streets from Small Crane as far as Dominick Street Lower will also close to traffic, from 6pm-11:30pm during that period.
Fine Gael councillor for Galway City Central, Eddie Hoare, said businesses along these streets will benefit hugely from the move.
“The feedback from business owners along the streets that were provided last summer, and will be provided this year, has been really, really positive,” said Cllr Hoare.
“Businesses have felt that there’s a real big bounce in trade, creating a much better atmosphere along the streets of Galway,” he said.
Cllr Hoare said it creates a “European feel” to the city centre, and “enhances the streetscapes”.
The Fine Gael councillor admitted there were initial teething issues when the measure was brought in last summer.
“(There were) some legal issues regarding the licensing laws. They were addressed at Oireachtas level through emergency legislation and efforts are being made this year to ensure that the outdoor dining will be compliant with the licensing laws,” he said.
“There were also some initial issues with regard to residents and emergency services,” said Cllr Hoare.
“A lot of these were addressed at the outset, talks were had with residents and emergency services and routes were put in place that were more suitable,” he said.
Chair of Galway VFI, Johnny Duggan, was optimistic about the impact it will have for the city and hospitality businesses, which have struggled with rolling restrictions for the last two years.
“It doubled the footfall to the West End 2021 v 2020 when similar restrictions were in place. It will create more turnover and more jobs for the city centre businesses and the suppliers to those businesses,” said Mr Duggan.
Members of the public can submit objections to the road closures to Galway City Council, no later than noon on Monday, March 21.
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