Chamber chief hits out at ‘unseemly carry-on’ of Cowen and Coveney

IRELAND needs leadership and the “unseemly carry- on” last week by Taoiseach Brian Cowen and opposition spokesperson Simon Coveney is not serving the country well, business leaders were told yesterday.

Cork Chamber president Ger O’Mahoney told business leaders the conduct of Taoiseach Brian Cowen was “really regretful”.

“What we need is leadership and not this kind of messing about. It would be better if they got on with the business of running the country, we expect and deserve better,” he said.

In his unscripted remarks Mr O’Mahoney did not mention any politicians by name. However, afterwards he confirmed he was speaking about Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s Morning Ireland interview and added;

“I’m talking about Simon (Coveney) too. It might be uncomfortable for some but we have to call for better leadership,” he said.

Mr O’Mahoney made his remarks at the Cork Chamber Business Breakfast in association with the Irish Examiner when he was introducing Doyle Collection chief executive Bill Walshe.

Mr Walshe disclosed revenue per available room at the Doyle Collection of hotels in Ireland is down 4% this year. He said their operations in Britain and the USA were both performing well. He said demand increased for Irish hotels over the summer as many people holidayed at home.

“Unfortunately, thatdemand has grown at the expense of the rate that people are willing to pay. The rates have gone too far, to a point where if you are in a job like mine, where one of my primary obligations is to maintain employment for people, we have slipped to a level where it is getting very difficult to do that and our product is being sold at beneath its value,” he said.

Mr Walshe said occasionally there are events, like a U2 concert in Dublin, when there is sufficient demand that allows hotels charge prices away from the heavily discounted market they operate in.

“The trouble is that on these very infrequent occasions... Joe Duffy’s phone lines light up,” he said.


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