Hotels and guesthouses plead with TDs for help

Bernadette Randles: Safeguarding public health is an absolute priority

HOTELS and guesthouses in Kerry are seeking the urgent support of local TDs to help save tourism and secure the livelihoods of hundreds of people employed in the industry.

They want the county’s five TDs to lobby the government to commit to paying 80 per cent of the salary of workers if businesses keep them on their payroll.

They also want to see measures to assist with cashflow for businesses facing short-term problems, including interest free loans with deferred capital payment structures, government supported and targeted bank support initiatives and a 12-month payment deferment on senior debt.

The county’s hoteliers are also seeking business interruption grants to help businesses reopen with interest-free grants that are repayable over time, local authority rates and water charges to be waived for the duration of business interruption and initial recovery period due to Covid-19 and tourism VAT rates and employer’s PRSI to be reduced to zero until the industry has recovered.

Bernadette Randles, Chairperson of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, remarked: “Safeguarding public health is an absolute priority for us and this must go hand-in-hand with ensuring we have a viable economy to return to after the crisis. The health and wellbeing of our people is intertwined with the economy”.

She said people will need livelihoods when Covid-19 is all over, including the 260,000 people across the country who, up until recently, were employed in tourism and hospitality. This represents 11 per cent of total employment nationally

“Tourism makes a vital economic contribution to our local economy here in Kerry and, up until last week, it supported 15,700 jobs and generated €592 million in local tourism revenues annually. Within a short number of weeks, we have seen revenues plummet by up to 100 per cent across the sector,” she added.

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