It is being reported that Dublin City Council is introducing a licensing system for sandwich boards in the city centre.
According to the Irish Times, the move has been slammed by representatives of small businesses and independent retailers in the area, who are already struggling with high business rates, which are already being paid to the council.
Speaking to the Irish Times, a Dublin City business operator revealed that he would have to pay €630 per year to retain the sign.
In addition to the charge itself, there is also a €100 application fee.
Bob Johnston, owner of Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar, understands the need to keep Dublin’s streets tidy, but said it was a shame to see the Council go down this route.
“I think it’ll remove 90% of signs from the streets,” he told the Irish Times. “It just concerns me that the 10% that will remain will be people who can afford to pay that amount of money each year, rather than those best suited to having the signs.”
This sentiment was shared by Sven Spollen-Behrens, director of the Small Firms Association, who acknowledges the need to improve the streetscape, but added that a charge is “a most unimaginative solution”.
“In light of Brexit we must avoid anything that puts extra pressure on small businesses, and the new licensing system adds to the cost of doing business,” he said.
The Council, however, has remained firm on their stance, citing an “explosion” of sandwich boards around Dublin City, with some businesses having up to three signs – entirely blocking the street.
According to the Council, certain streets will be considered unsuitable for the boards, and businesses on such streets will not be granted a licence.