16 Aug 2022

'Fáilte Ireland boss' position is untenable', says Longford councillor

Calls for tourism chief to resign after travelling to Italy on holiday amid Irish staycation push

Tourism boss Michael Cawley

Failte Ireland chairman Michael Cawley is facing questions over his decision to travel to Italy on holidays despite a massive push for people to staycate in Ireland

There are calls for tourism chief Michael Cawley to step down from his position as Fáilte Ireland chairman this afternoon after it emerged he travelled to Italy on holidays despite a massive drive to promote staycations in Ireland due to Covid-19.

Longford councillors Seamus Butler and Peggy Nolan both expressed their dismay at the news with the former insisting Mr Cawley's position was "untenable" as a consequence.

The Irish Independent revealed today that the Fáilte Ireland chairman went to Italy on his holidays, which is on the Green List.

Details of the development surrounding Mr Cawley emerged as the Government is continuing to advise people not to travel abroad and to "holiday at home" as the Covid-19 pandemic plays havoc with the country's economy and health service.

Fáilte Ireland is carrying out a "major drive to encourage people to take domestic breaks" and the Government has introduced a tax rebate to encourage people to spend their holidays here.

Cllr Butler described the saga as a "bloody disgrace" and something which was inexcusable in the current climate.

"Absolutely," he said when asked if the affair was a resigning matter.

"I mean Fáilte Ireland are always on about the Atlantic East, the Atlantic Way and Hidden Heartlands and then you have the likes of this going on.

"It's just a very bad example that's been set and I don't think his position is tenable."

Longford Municipal District Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan said while she did not necessarily agree with Cllr Butler's assertion of the issue being one which should result in Mr Cawley's resignation, the long serving local politician registered her disappointment at the news.

"People are very anxious and fearful and if this man has gone to Italy then shame on him," she said.

"I don't think it is a resigning issue but what I do think is that is card should be very firmly marked when he gets home."

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