May 6, 2020
Dedicated Tourism Recovery Taskforce “essential” – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin TD for Meath East Darren O’Rourke says the Tourism and Hospitality sector is the “beating heart” of the Irish economy and has called on Government to urgently establish a Tourism Recovery Taskforce to ensure it’s long term future.

Speaking in the Dáil today, he said;

“Minister, when we heard on the news over the weekend that tourism was among the sectors worst hit by Covid-19 job losses, for most of us it came as confirmation rather than surprise. 

“A strong Hospitality and Tourism sector is absolutely crucial. In many areas it is the beating heart of local economies but, dependent as it is on the movement of people, it has been decimated by Covid-19.

“Tourism and Hospitality supports an estimated 260,000 jobs in Ireland, or 11% of total employment, making it our largest local employer. It has reached into every region and county across Ireland with 70% of jobs are outside of Dublin – 6,500 in my own home county – highlighting the regional contribution of tourism and its vital role in spreading employment opportunities and prosperity.

“In recent weeks we have seen pubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, B&Bs, museums, visitors centres – the list goes on – all closed. Many with hundreds of employees and thousands of years of combined working experience. I want to extend my solidarity to those workers at this uncertain time on behalf of Sinn Féin.

“If the economic impact is as devastating as many see it, I would suggest the social impact is many times this. Festivals and events and places that bring people together – all out of bounds. Hundreds of thousands of workers and their families, whole communities in some cases, are waiting in anticipation.

”We need a dedicated recovery plan for the Tourism and Hospitality sector. The business supports announced by Minister Donohoe at the weekend do not go anywhere near far enough to ensure the families and workers affected are given a break. 

“They lack ambition and do not go far enough. The Government must commit to the establishment of a Tourism Recovery Taskforce to develop and deliver a dedicated tourism recovery package.” 

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