• Cyril McAree

Hoteliers Deeply Alarmed at Government’s Meaningless Intervention

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has expressed deep alarm at the Government’s response to Covid-19 in relation to local authority rates. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, IHF President described proposals to defer rates payments as wholly inadequate and a futile exercise that will do little to get the 260,000 people in Irish Tourism back to work as part of rebuilding Ireland. “Securing jobs is our priority now and it is disappointing that the Government does not realise the reality of what is needed,” she said.

The IHF is calling for rates to be waived until this crisis is over saying that decisive, meaningful action is required that recognises and properly addresses the enormous financial challenges facing the tourism and hospitality sector. “Deferring payment fails to tackle the underlying problem. It needs to be waived. Let’s be very clear, our quest is to get 260,000 people back to work and if this meaningless intervention is to the only initiative brought to the table, businesses throughout Ireland will suffer. Every day without a waiver leads to further job losses,” she warned.

“Hundreds of tourism and hospitality businesses across the country have closed their doors in recent days due to this crisis, with no idea as to when they will be able to reopen. Accruing their liabilities makes no sense. Their financial difficulties are not going to simply evaporate at the end of May. We want to get people back working and play our part in rebuilding Ireland. These businesses are facing weeks if not months of lost income, during which time their liability for Local Authority Rates will accumulate.”

Tourism supports over 260,000 jobs in every town and county and is a major contributor to the rural economy. Ms Fitzgerald Kane says that meaningful action is required now so that hotels and other tourism businesses can start to plan their recovery for when this crisis is over. “One of the lessons learnt from the financial crisis was the requirement to act fast so that large parts of the economy are not obliterated, with long-term consequences which will directly impact the local authorities. It is in everyone’s interests to start preparing to put our economy back on a firm footing as quickly as possible,” she said.


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