Paul Kennedy of Hibernian Gifts & Café says an e-mail to coach operators from a manager at CIE Tours had seriously impacted on his business. The email from a manager in quality control stated: “DO NOT visit/lunch @ Hibernian gifts”/.
It also advised drivers and coach companies to “drop off passengers at coach bays at front of House of Waterford Crystal or at the Bishops Palace /Museum.”
The leaked email also recommended that drivers also use The Reg restaurant for lunch parties. Hibernian Gifts & Café has traded at Bolton Street, Waterford since 2011, providing a service tailored to suit coach parties.
Mr Kennedy said there had been no complaints about his trade. He inferred there was a ‘connection’ between personnel in CIE Tours and Waterford Crystal. His business is 60m from the House of Waterford Crystal and 100m from an EU-funded coach park facility largely ignored by CIÉ Tours which brings 10,000 visitors to the city annually.
CIÉ Tours advises coach drivers to park in the busy Mall area, part of the city’s Viking Triangle and close to Waterford Crystal.
Last year, Irish Coach Drivers Association secretary John Burke warned Waterford Westwood Royal Doulton that “the manner in which coach drivers are expected to park outside Waterford Crystal” could “result in death or serious injury”.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Eddie Mulligan said traders are unhappy the Mall was evolving into “a congested” coach park and safety risk. A spokesman for CIÉ Tours said “the House of Waterford Crystal reserves bays for its tours to allow safe and easy access”.