Dublin City Council has announced a four-week extension to a traffic-free initiative on two streets in the city centre.
A number of business owners and politicians had called for the scheme on Capel Street and Parliament Street to be extended and made permanent after a tweet by Dublin City Council yesterday that the pedestrianisation of the two streets was due to end this weekend.
The two streets have been closed to traffic on Friday, Saturday and Sundays after 6.30pm for the last 11 weeks in order to facilitate outdoor dining.
In a statement this evening, Dublin City Council said the initiative will now conclude on Sunday 26 September.
Earlier, the owner of Panti Bar on Capel Street said the vast majority of businesses and residents wanted the scheme to continue and said it had been absolutely wonderful for the area.
Rory O'Neill said he thought that the initiative should continue for as long as it took to put a permanent plan in place.
He said the scheme had had a very successful trial that everyone including the council agreed was successful and called for it to be made permanent.
The pedestrianisation had been an absolute life saver and his business would not be here otherwise, Mr O'Neill said, as Panti Bar has no outdoor space.
Louis Copeland, of Louis Copeland men's clothing store on Capel Street, said the scheme had not affected the retail trade because he said retail finishes at about 6pm.
He said there had been a good atmosphere on the street and he thought it had been a great success.
Mr Copeland said he was in favour of pedestrianisation of the area because it was in the evening and did not affect retailers.
However, he said traffic management would have to be looked at as well as parking.
In a statement this evening, Dublin City Council said the decision to extend the traffic-free weekends was made by management following representations by councillors including Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland.
Ms Gilliland said she was delighted that with the support of cross-party colleagues, they have been able to secure this extension.
The local authority also said that a period of public consultation to ascertain people's views on all perspectives of the traffic-free streets scheme - which was originally planned as part of the initiative - is due begin on next Monday.
Over the last 11 weeks, more than 300,000 people have experienced the traffic-free streets of Capel St & Parliament St. This weekend is the final scheduled weekend so be sure to check it out! #Dublin #CityRecovery #Pedestrianisation pic.twitter.com/SxRtCYXr2E— Dublin City Council (@DubCityCouncil) August 23, 2021
Reacting, Fine Gael Councillor Ray McAdam said any extension to the trial was welcome.
However, he said he wanted a longer term plan for Capel Street to harness the success of the last 12 weeks and one that overcomes the challenges that exist.
The owner of the Boar's Head pub said the traffic-free scheme had changed the face of the street.
Hugh Hourican said it was really vibrant and there was a great buzz about it.
He said that he believed businesses could work together on this and make a bigger plan to continue it full time.
Mr Hourican said the scheme currently starts from 6.30 pm, but business owners would be open to go to 7.15pm or 7.30pm if necessary to accommodate everybody.