Traders in Dublin city centre are facing an annual bill of €630 if they wish to use sandwich boards to advertise their business.
Dublin City Council (DCC) has confirmed it is introducing the new cost from September 1 on advertising boards on footpaths across the city and to counter the growing problem which many claim is hindering people with mobility issues.
Up to now, the use of sandwich boards (classed as ‘A Boards’) to advertise wares has been largely overlooked, but this will all change come September when legislation will permit DCC staff to confiscate any unauthorised signs on public footpaths.
Sandwich boards are already banned on certain streets, including Grafton Street and O’Connell Street, and the restriction will apply to all streets in the capital.
The new restrictions have been met with mixed feelings, with the Restaurant Association of Ireland slamming DCC’s decision, while others, including the Disability Federation of Ireland, welcomed the proposed licensing system.
Clare Cronin, the Federation’s communications manager, said: “We welcome this important move towards keeping the paths clear for people with disabilities.
“As the lead organisation in the annual Make Way Day on September 26, we have highlighted the wide range of obstacles that clutter our streets and stop people with disabilities from going about their business.
“On the subject of business, we would point to Cashel in Co Tipperary, which was awarded a Gold Star for accessibility in 2006.
“As part of its accessibility audit, billboards were moved off pavements and businesses instead put their signs and blackboards on their outside walls. This has set an example we could all follow.
“Most people will have felt mild irritation at having to dodge parked cars, bins and illegally parked bicycles as they navigate the city streets, but these things can be life-threatening for people with disabilities.
“Pavements are first and foremost for the public, and that has to include people with disabilities,” she said.
New Dublin MEP Ciaran Cuffe (GP) also welcomed the news, saying it was time to “wage war on sandwich boards”.
A statement from DCC said: “A Boards require a licence under the Planning and Development Act, which stipulates the fees payable.
“The policy is now being adopted due to the proliferation of A Boards across the city, which creates issues for pedestrian mobility, particularly for the visually impaired.
“Make Way Day 2018, organised by the Disability Federation, noted A Boards as the biggest issue facing mobility and visually-impaired people in the city.”