Councillor Pete Byrne as called on Newry Mourne and Down Council officials to do all they can to ensure barriers and red tape is removed for businesses who wish to avail of pavement café licences and use of Council land.

The Slieve Gullion Councillor said,“It’s fantastic that there is now greater clarity from the Executive and local Council on what is possible for businesses looking to use pavements and Council land to help with the existing social distancing restrictions. We have seen many images on social media of the success of schemes in the likes of Cork city and with Council support we will soon see businesses adapting and transforming our towns and villages for the better.”

“We must however be mindful that in some cases, using pavements directly outside businesses will not be possible. In the case of my home town of Crossmaglen, some bars will not be able to use the space directly outside their front doors as it simply wouldn’t be safe to do so. In this instance we must ensure that those businesses are supported to avail of space within the square itself and all barriers that currently exist must be relaxed to give all pubs a fighting chance. No hurdle is insurmountable.”

“Council must be able to show that it is willing to work hand in hand with local businesses. I want to be able to go back to business owners in Crossmaglen and assure them that the support is there for submitting an expression of interest or an application. Communication is also key to ensure that all businesses are aware of what they are able to do. I welcome the option for businesses to avail of occasional licence which covers 30 events throughout the year. This must be communicated to allow businesses to run pilots to see what works for them.”

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