ISCF; Another Blow to Irish Tourism and Rural Economies

Wednesday, May 29, 2024. 10:52am
Irish Self-Catering Federation (ISCF) - Another Blow to Irish Tourism and Rural Economies

Irish Self-Catering Federation (ISCF) – Another Blow to Irish Tourism and Rural Economies

The Irish Self Catering Federation (ISCF) has said that the tourism industry is facing “considerable threat” due to the Irish government’s poorly thought out implementation of European Union  legislation on short -term rental data collection and sharing which became law on May 19. Each EU member state will then be given two years to legislate for a register in their own country.  Unlike other European countries, Ireland has decided to attach planning permission to this legislation.  As planning permission is not a requirement of the EU legislation, this is a short sighted and ill-advised move by the Irish government, especially given the lack of tourism accommodation available across the country and in particular in rural Ireland. 

The register for Short Term Rental (STR) in Ireland will be managed by Fáilte Ireland and will be mandatory for all who operate in the sector across the country. Máire Ní Mhurchú, CEO of the ISCF, which has 6500 units with members nation-wide, says that while aspects of the legislation are welcome and will increase standards she is very concerned at planning implications. However, Ms Ní Mhurchú has warned that self-catering planning guidelines, which will be implemented as part of the legislation, will prove hugely disruptive and expensive to the sector. “We are asking the government to listen to us, to protect rural tourism and not to put the 7,000 people who are employed by our members out of a job,” she said. “The cost of this proposed planning aspect to the legislation, which is posing a considerable threat to our members, would be unviable to obtain. That is a cost that our members, many of whom rely on their business for a living for their family, simply cannot afford,” Ms Ní Mhurchú added. 

Irish Self-Catering Federation (ISCF) - Another Blow to Irish Tourism and Rural Economies
Máire ní Mhurchú, Chair of the ISCF

She also queried if the planning departments of county councils across the country are ready for a potential deluge of planning applications. “What is going to happen to the planning process if thousands of self-catering owners apply for planning permission at the same time?  I don’t believe that the government realizes the implications of this or have thought it through in any detail. The future of the self-catering industry and that of many thousands of part and full-time jobs are at risk here. Is this the legacy that this government wants to leave ahead of the next general election?”, Máire Ní Mhurchú said.

Self-catering is the main accommodation type along the Wild Atlantic Way which is worth over €3bil per annum. Hotels which would be intrusive on the landscape and not economically viable in these rural areas. Self-catering businesses are owned and managed by people who live in the area, contributing economically to the rural economies.

The Register can all be achieved in 2024 with clear dialogue with the different agencies involved. Planning is not central to the tourism offering, but has become the focus to the discussion due to intransigence on behalf of the Department of Housing and the lack of understanding of the economic value of self-catering to communities. The Register for STR is very much needed to quantify the amount of accommodation available for tourism in an area, and allow for growth of the industry.

Survey: Economic Value of Self-Catering In Ireland

The Irish Self-catering Federation are compiling details from Self-catering owners as part of an Economic Survey report on the industry. To date the Government has not completed any Economic reports on the sector, despite their proposals to close down many self-catering units in each county, as per Failte Ireland report to Oireachtas Tourism Committee.

Link to Survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZPJXGQN

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