As a result, the Licensed Vintners Association has sought a meeting with the City Manager and it has also e-mailed all Dublin City Councillors.
“We recognise the need for accessibility on public footpaths but feel an appropriate balance must be struck to allow pubs continue to use barrels,” stated the Association in the e-mail, “Unlike sandwich boards, authentic barrels add to the streetscape and character of the city and are used and enjoyed by the public.
“We are calling on Dublin City Council to have a public consultation and allow the licensed trade and the public the opportunity to input their views. An appropriate balance on the needs of business and public accessibility must be struck.”
The LVA is stressing the importance of individual members contacting their local councillors and setting out publicans’ concerns, stressing that the needs of businesses must be taken into account before any final decision is made.
LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe also said that given the fees publicans have already paid for outdoor furniture such as tables and chairs it was “excessive” to seek additional monies for barrels.
Some 150 unlicensed sandwich boards have now been seized by the Council since the legislation banning them was introduced last September. And while many outlets can apply for permission to use them on the pavement for a set fee, only one outlet appears to have done so.
Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan denied that the sandwich board licensing move was a money-making exercise
“We’re delighted with how the sandwich boards regulations have gone,” he said, “They’ve been very successful at removing unauthorised clutter which has caused obstructions to the public footpaths.”
He continued, “Now we need to concentrate on other elements which are causing problems and I am particularly unhappy about the use of beer barrels, which are taking over the footpath in some areas. They are also encouraging on-street drinking in the city, which is a matter of concern to me.”
The number of barrels placed outside pubs, particularly in the city centre, has increased in recent years, he told the Irish Times recently, with some drinks companies giving out free barrels which doubled as on-street advertising.
The barrels would likely be licensed in the same manner as sandwich boards, he added.