Restaurant association seeks to legally challenge indoor dining distinction

Just 20% of members have the capacity to provide outdoor hospitality, group claims

The Restaurants Association of Ireland and some individual members of the group have applied to the High Court seeking leave to challenge distinctions made between indoor dining in non-hotel commercial restaurants and indoor dining within hotels.

The challenge relates to recent regulations signed by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and claims the distinction drawn should be quashed on the basis of "irrationality, lack of proportionality and unjustifiable interference" with restaurateurs' property and economic rights.

“These regulations are required to be challenged in order to ensure the continued viability of our members’ livelihoods and in order to ensure that these unjustifiable distinctions do not continue,” the association said.

Indoor dining is currently permitted in hotels for hotel guests.



While restaurants that have space for outdoor dining were recently allowed to reopen those areas as part of a loosening of Covid restrictions, others have to wait until July 5th, when the ban on indoor dining is due to be lifted.

According to the association, just 20 per cent of its members have the capacity to provide outdoor hospitality, be it within a beer garden or outdoor dining space.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist