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Tag Archives: hospitality

‘Pandemic payment should be reduced’

Ballyvaughan  hotel facing short-term closure due to staff shortages THE Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) should be dramatically scaled back and only paid to employees whose businesses can’t operate, according to a well known hotelier. Woodstock Hotel manager, Sean Lally has called on the government to operate a more targeted PUP support for those who can’t work in view of the chronic staff shortages facing the hospitality and other industries. His appeal coincides with the revelation Gregan’s Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, will have to close for ten days in September and five in October, because it hasn’t enough staff to operate its business. Staff shortages in the hospitality sector in the Burren could hamper Autumn bookings, following one of the busiest summers in the region in recent years in terms of Irish visitors. Hotels and self-catering accommodation providers have reported bookings are up on last year, due to a combination of recent fine weather and the desire to holiday at home due …

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TD: Dining delay will hit Clare disproportionately

CLARE’S multi-million euro hospitality sector will be disproportionately hit by the latest “farcical” and “unworkable” restrictions in indoor dining, a local TD has claimed. Deputy Michael McNamara has confirmed he will try to put the latest extension of Covid-19 restrictions for the hospitality sector to a Dáil vote with the help of other Independent deputies. He said it now seems the government is going down the road of a form of “medical apartheid” where non-residents of a bar or restaurant can only enjoy a meal indoors if fully vaccinated. Expressing surprise at the latest move, the Independent Deputy said the government had previously stated it would not adopt this approach and noted the overall uptake of the vaccine against Covid-19 in Ireland is very high by European standards. The Scariff-based deputy pointed out very few bouncers or security personnel have a medical degree to assess whether their customers are fully-vaccinated. “Who is going to be standing outside the doors of …

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Ennis native leads research on Clare’s older workers

OLDER workers in Clare are being urged to get in touch with an Ennis-born researcher and his team at University College Dublin (UCD), with a view to sharing their employment experiences. This county has been selected as one of five locations nationwide, where the research team  will explore the opportunities and challenges faced by workers aged 55 and over, who are living or working in the region. The lead researcher is a Clare man, Dr Micheál Collins, who is Assistant Professor of Social Policy at The School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice at UCD. The study is funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Low Pay Commission. The hope is that the study’s results will be used to inform future public policy in the area. “One of the reasons we chose Clare is because of the relatively high numbers of people working in the hospitality and retail sectors,” Dr Collins told The Champion. …

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‘Body blow’ for hospitality as Covid restrictions make an early return

THE return of Level 5 restrictions, which will force gastropubs and restaurants to close from the afternoon of December 24, has been described as “a body blow” to the sector. Fears are growing for the future viability of the hospitality industry in Clare, with a warning that many businesses will face closure in the New Year, unless government supports are stepped up. Reaction in Clare to Tuesday’s announcement that restrictions are to be re-imposed from Christmas Eve, has ranged from resignation in the face of a third wave of Covid-19 to anger at the perceived delay in breaking the news. “This is very disappointing and word got out through a series of Chinese whispers,” said Clare Chair of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) Darragh McAllister. “The way that the details were leaked [last weekend] is shoddy, amateur and no way to run a country. There are huge problems now for the gastropubs in terms of all of the stock …

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Anger as pensioners excluded from Stay and Spend scheme

THE exclusion of pensioners from a new tourism stimulus scheme for the off-peak season has been described as “a real slap in the face” by the Shannon-based President of Active Retirement Ireland. Kay Murphy told The Champion the terms of the new Stay and Spend scheme, which provides a tax rebate on certain tourism products and services, “victimised” those on State pensions. The initiative, which allows people to claim 20% back on up to €625 spent between October and April of next year, excludes anyone who does not pay tax. “I’m very disappointed about this, so many of our members are dependent solely on the State pension,” Mrs Murphy said. “Because they don’t pay tax any more, they’re not eligible for the scheme.” Mrs Murphy noted that the value of Active Retirement members to the tourism sector had been valued last year at €13.5m and that their exclusion from the scheme made no sense. “At this stage, those of us …

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Hopes for salvation of East Clare tourism season

HOPES continue to be expressed that the tourism season in East Clare can be salvaged to some degree, despite the severe blow dealt to the region by Covid-19. Chairperson of East Clare Tourism Arlene White said the season to-date “has not been a total washout” and that the potential of the area to offer people activities in nature and at uncrowded locations continued to be realised. “It is nothing like it should be, naturally,” she said. “People are out and about walking and kayaking though and it’s not quite bad as people had feared.” There is a widespread acknowledgement that, when it comes to accommodation, self-catering providers are faring best. “In some cases,” Arlene said, “demand is out-stripping supply and self-catering is booming.” That situation contrasts with the plight faced by traditional Bed and Breakfast accommodation. “I do know of some in East Clare who have decided, for the protection of their own health, that they won’t open this year,” …

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New figures reveal threat to Clare tourism jobs

ALMOST 9,000 jobs in hospitality and tourism in Clare are at immediate risk, with the sector braced for what industry leaders are calling “an impending disaster”. While hotels and pubs serving food are set to re-open from next Monday, representative groups are concerned about the chances of salvaging the 2020 season. An industry briefing for Clare, prepared for the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), reveals that 8,800 jobs are at risk in 2020. The figure represents close to 75% of all jobs in the industry in Clare, and the same percentage of the total revenue the sector generates for the county. “Up until recently, tourism and hospitality across Clare supported 12,000 jobs and generated €266 in revenues annual for the local economy,” the IHF briefing stated. “We are now facing a deepening crisis with 8,800 tourism jobs at risk across Clare and local tourism revenues estimated to drop by €200 million as businesses fight for survival,” Responding to the figures, North …

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Ennis Chamber survey reveals business concerns over Covid-19

A NEW survey carried out by Ennis Chamber of Commerce has provided a localised view of how businesses across Clare have been impacted by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Business Survey, conducted in conjunction with Clare FM, also gauges reaction to the suggestion that the town centre be pedestrianised to facilitate social distancing. Ennis Chamber CEO, Margaret O’Brien said the response reveals just how stressed and anxious business owners are. “Although we now have a government roadmap for reopening our economy,” she said, “the level of uncertainty evident from the responses by business owners in County Clare, suggests that those fears, rooted in uncertainty, are set to continue. Shops, cafés, pubs, hotels, hairdressers and beauticians now know when they can open, but that knowledge does little to quell the fear that co-existing with COVID-19 restrictions could mean trading to break even, as opposed to turning a profit.” The strongest sectoral response to the survey, came from retail, representing 42% of all respondents, with hospitality and tourism accounting …

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