Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has received Cabinet approval to extend the operation of outdoor seating areas for pubs and restaurants as the hospitality industry enters the summer season.

The Government agreed to a six-month extension to the legislation which permits the sale and consumption of alcohol in outdoor seating areas.

The law was due to lapse on 31 May, but it has now been extended until the end of November. It follows the waiving of fees for on-street furniture last week.

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The legislation was first introduced to assist the hospitality sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister McEntee said the legislation has been hugely helpful to the hospitality sector and she hoped it will again be used by many businesses during the summer months.

The legislation applies where outdoor seating areas have been permitted by the relevant local authority on public land, such as a path.

The Minister plans to bring forward a longer term solution as part of wider reforms of licencing law.

The Restaurant Association of Ireland has welcomed the extension, saying it has been lobbying the Government on the matter for weeks.

RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins said Irish people are moving towards a European-style hospitality model.