Fianna Fáil need to reverse the decision of Dublin City Council to charge restaurants and cafés €630 a year to use sandwich boards outside their premises, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Dublin North West TD, Noel Rock said the charge, due to be introduced by September 1, is in addition to current fees which see businesses charged for having street furniture.

This includes a €100 annual licence fee, an annual fee of €125 per table and finally, a fee based on the size of the area the furniture covers and the zone of the city the businesses is located in.

Deputy Rock said: “Fianna Fáil’s true colours haven’t taken long to emerge.

“This has echoes of their move, at the sunset of their failed Government, where they shamefully reduced minimum wage for the first time in the history of the state.

“They consistently demonstrate that they are anti-worker, anti-business and pro-populism.

“Fianna Fáil never fail to show their true colours, failing to deliver for hard-working small businesses.

“Local Authorities should be supporting SMEs in the city, but these charges are dangerous and a threat to the many restaurants and cafés which operate in Dublin city centre. Fianna Fáil need to wake up and smell the coffee and realise that.

“I know that there are some areas where sandwich boards pose an accessibility problem for wheelchair users and I believe a comprehensive overhaul of how this area is regulated and enforced is needed – but simply piling costs on to businesses is not the way to achieve this,” he said.

Deputy Rock continued: “It is particularly disappointing that the Lord Mayor is overseeing the implementation of these vastly increased charges. In 2015, he called the Council’s licensing system for allowing tables and chairs to be placed outside pubs, cafés and restaurants as ‘daft’ and ‘unnecessary burden on city centre businesses that are struggling with high operating costs.

“I would call on the Lord Mayor to put his money where his mouth is and ensure these charges are scrapped and protect the vibrant hospitality businesses in Dublin city,” continued Deputy Rock.

“We need to ensure that local authorities liaise with businesses before making a decision that could affect the very livelihoods of many employers and employees.

“SMEs are a major pillar of our economy and I believe local authorities in line with the Government should be doing their utmost to support them and ensure they are able to operate and build upon their successes rather than forking over a large amount of money for the privilege to advertise their business right outside their premises,” concluded Deputy Rock.