Martin 'disappointed' as second Fáilte Ireland board member resigns over foreign holiday

Martin 'disappointed' as second Fáilte Ireland board member resigns over foreign holiday

Breege O'Donoghue. Picture: Dara Mac Dónaill

A second member of Fáilte Ireland's board has resigned over a foreign holiday, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

Breege O'Donoghue, a former executive director of Primark/Penneys at their Dublin offices, spent time in Spain over the summer, a country that is not on Ireland's 'green list' of countries. 

Ms O'Donoghue went on holiday to her second home in Marbella, Spain for a week in July and another week August.

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said she was “disappointed” to learn that a second board member travelled abroad this summer.

It is understood Fáilte Ireland were unaware of the trip until approached by the Irish Examiner.

Sources say after being alerted by the Examiner, Fáilte Ireland ascertained Ms O'Donoghue's movements, and the minister was informed by the Fáilte Ireland's CEO Paul Kelly.

Ms Donoghue tendered her resignation on Tuesday evening to the Minister which was accepted.

Sources say an announcement is expected later this evening from Fáilte Ireland that Ms O'Donoghue has formally resigned.

Ms O' Donoghue was formally appointed to Fáilte Ireland's board in 2018 along with a number of others for their "tourism and consumer advocacy".

The former Penney's head is the second board member after the chairman of Fáilte Ireland Michael Cawley resigned from his position in August after it emerged he was on a family holiday in Italy.

A statement released by Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin released on Tuesday evening said: "We are all aware of the devastating impact that Covid-19 restrictions have had on the tourism and hospitality sectors and I am disappointed to learn that a second member of the board of Fáilte Ireland travelled abroad this summer, notwithstanding Government advice.

"In order to support our own industry, and in line with the prevailing Government health advice, Fáilte Ireland has been to the forefront in promoting domestic holidays.

"Ultimately, staying at home supports our tourism industry at a devastating time, showing solidarity in the face of a pandemic that is costing lives and livelihoods across Ireland and the world.

"I rang Ms O’Donoghue this evening and she has offered her resignation which I have accepted.

"I wish to thank Ms O’Donoghue for her service as a member of the board of Fáilte Ireland and her important contribution to the work of promoting tourism in Ireland during this time.

"I have accepted her resignation as I believe it would not be tenable for her to continue in the role, given all of the circumstances."

The Minister has sought a meeting with the Fáilte Ireland board "at the earliest opportunity".

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