Dublin City Council is to introduce a licensing system for retailers wanting to use sandwich boards on public footpaths to promote their business in a bid to control the growing number of advertising signs on city streets.
However, several councillors have voiced concern that the measure will not be sufficient to tackle the growing problem of “street clutter” in the capital.
Senior council official Kevin Meade said the local authority proposed to charge users an annual fee of €630 for a licence for a sandwich board, otherwise known as an A-boards, as well as a one-off application fee of €100.
Mr Meade told a meeting of the council’s transportation committee that he believed the cost would act “as a deterrent” to the use of sandwich boards.
The official said the council’s chief executive, Owen Keegan, had also issued instructions that “zero tolerance” was to be shown for anyone using unauthorised street furniture.
Four additional inspectors have recently been hired by the council to carry out enforcement of regulations governing the use of sandwich boards.
The council has grown increasingly concerned at the proliferation of sandwich boards being used by pubs, restaurants, cafes, and other shops in the city centre area because of the risk they pose to the public, in particular to individuals with mobility or sight disabilities.
“They have sprung up everywhere,” said Mr Meade.
The council already operates a ban on sandwich boards on Grafton St and O’Connell St.
Ciarán Cuffe, a Green Party councillor and the committee’s chairman, questioned whether a licensing system would achieve its aim.
He said it was time “to declare war” on sandwich boards.
“The streets of Dublln have gone from bad to worse in terms of blockage,” said Mr Cuffe.
“I don’t think businesses are benefiting when everyone has one.”
Last year, the Restaurants Association of Ireland accused the council of going on “an anti-tourism rampage” over its plans to tackle unlicensed street furniture.