Kerry hoteliers call for additional supports to safeguard jobs

Bernadette Randles. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Hotel and guesthouse owners in Kerry are calling for an urgent review of business and employment supports for the hospitality sector.

This follows an announcement at the weekend stating the sector is unlikely to reopen before mid-summer.

Those working in the industry in Kerry feel additional supports are urgently needed to safeguard jobs.

Hotel and guesthouse owners around the county are asking the Government to intervene with the banks to ensure appropriate supports and engagement processes are in place for business owners and their team members until COVID-19 has been suppressed.

Chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation, Bernadette Randles, is warning that failure to act now will have long term implications that could take years to repair.

She says public health must always be the number one priority, adding they recognise the difficult balance the Government has to achieve.

However, she says if the all-important summer period is being eroded, additional supports are required now to safeguard businesses and the livelihoods they support until society reopens and the sector and wider tourism industry can recover.

Ms Randles says the announcement at the weekend resulted in acute frustration and anxiety for many people.

Prior to this pandemic, some 15,700 livelihoods were supported by tourism and hospitality here in Kerry with the sector contributing €592 million the local economy.

Bernadette Randles says a severely devastated tourism and hospitality sector would be a major loss to the economy and society in Kerry for many years to come; she says this can and must be avoided.

She says the Government must step up with engagement and the required supports to ensure that the sector and its 270,000 community nationwide can recover.