Hotels in Ireland say the response by the Department of Finance to the immediate challenges faced by tourism businesses due to Covid-19 is "grossly inadequate" and risks wiping out a major component of the economy.
“By only offering to waive interest on late revenue payments temporarily, the Government is threatening tens of thousands of jobs and the ability of many tourism businesses and their suppliers to survive this crisis," Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said.
"Our members are experiencing alarming levels of cancellations which are having a sudden and catastrophic impact on cash flow. This is affecting their ability to pay their employees, first and foremost, with lay-offs and short-time now becoming a reality."
“For rural hotels, in particular, the consequences are dire given the vital social and economic contribution they make to their local communities.”
The IHF wants An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to intervene and ensure the implementation of the measures sought by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport as a matter of urgency.
The Department of Tourism Ministers Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin are seeking wide-ranging interventions to assist the industry including the deferment of certain taxes and charges, speedy access to low-interest loans and the reduction of the VAT rate on accommodation and food services to 0% immediately until the crisis passes, increasing to 9% for 12 months to enable the industry to bounce back as quickly as possible.