Minister to haul in Fáilte Ireland board after second foreign holiday resignation

Minister to haul in Fáilte Ireland board after second foreign holiday resignation

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport, and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin TD has accepted Ms O'Donoghue's resignation. 

The Minister for Tourism is to haul in the board of Fáilte Ireland "at the earliest opportunity" after another shock resignation.

Irish Examiner last night, admitting they took a foreign holiday after an investigation by the A second member of the tourism board resigned.

Breege O'Donoghue, the former long-time executive director of Primark/Penneys in Dublin, spent time in Spain over the summer, a destination 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 in August.

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 Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport, and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin was informed of the relevations by Fáilte Ireland's CEO Paul Kelly.

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

Breege O'Donoghue, the former long-time executive director of Primark/Penneys in Dublin, spent time in Spain over the summer, a destination that is not on Ireland's Green List of countries. Picture: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times
Breege O'Donoghue, the former long-time executive director of Primark/Penneys in Dublin, spent time in Spain over the summer, a destination that is not on Ireland's Green List of countries. Picture: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

A statement released by Minister Catherine Martin 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 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 travelled for a family holiday to Italy.

The minister has now sought a meeting with the Fáilte Ireland board to discuss the resignations and the actions of the board going forward.

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