Businesses face 'sun tax' rule for outdoor seating

Businesses face 'sun tax' rule for outdoor seating

Local authorities are to enforce a ‘sunshine tax’ rule for businesses placing tables and chairs outside food and drink premises, writes Christy Parker.

A Cobh, Co Cork publican said he, alone, could face a €500 charge in addition to general licensing fees for ‘street furniture’ in public areas.

Along with a current €635 fee for footpath signage and a €100 charge for licensing, businesses face an annual payment of €125 for every table and four chairs.

Publican Tom Kelly, of Kelly’s Bar in Cobh, said the increased charge could cost him over €500 a year. “It’s not as if we’re living in the south of Spain. How often does the sun shine? How often can customers sit outside?”

The harbour town is one of the first in Cork where a 2010 regulation is to be enforced. The Government, at the peak of the recession, upped a €50 charge to €125. Most local authorities did not implement it.

However, businesses in Cobh along with the town’s Chamber of Commerce are to meet with the Cobh/Glanmire Municipal District officer Páraig Lynch, to highlight their increased cost concerns.

Cobh Chamber of Commerce president John Sweeney said the charges should be considered within the context of the country’s economic status but “there needed to be greater communication between the local authority and businesses.”

Businesses, meanwhile are also anticipating a further demand for €635 per annum for footpath signage such as sandwich boards.

The proposed 2010 increases had not been implemented in Cobh. Council official Mr Lynch said, on realising the anomaly, the council had no option but to implement the correct charges.

Mr Lynch said he was bound by the regulation. A primary concern, he said, was “councillors had noted up to 20 businesses putting out tables and chairs and I have to ensure conditions are observed and maintained. I must apply the statutory fee.”

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