Longford businessman calls for urgent financial supports for hospitality sector

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Longford businessman calls for urgent financial supports for hospitality sector

Local businessman and community activist Andrew Reynolds has called on Tanaiste Leo Vardadkar to offer “an absolute guarantee of further financial supports to assist those operating in the hospitality sector immediately until such time as we can safely re open our businesses once again.”

Speaking in response to Mr. Vardadkar's recent comments in which he urged local authorities to “do what they can” for local restaurants and cafes by supporting outdoor seating where possible in towns and cities this summer, Mr. Reynolds said the move “was not enough” and “as someone who works in the catering industry with a significant number of employees”, he was “deeply disillusioned to see no apparent positive plan of action in place to facilitate cafes with facilities for indoor seating only.”

“Now,a year after the first case of Covid 19 hit Ireland, the reprecussions have been catastrophic for all businesses, with the tourism industry hit extremely hard,” he pointed out. “Hotel bookings are down dramatically and many catering companies, restaurants and cafe owners are now either closed or struggling to make ends meet as a result of repeated lockdowns.”

“Business owners have already lost an entire summer of trade and are potentially set to lose another this year as well as facing another typically busy day, St. Patrick's Day, in lockdown. This has sadly meant many proprietors have had to close their doors for, I believe, the last time, particularly those in rural Ireland where the local cafe was a point of social contact for so many.”

For this reason I am calling on further clarity from the Tanaiste on this issue as a matter of urgency and call for this guarantee of further financial supports to assist those of us working in the hospitality sector until such time as we can safely reopen our doors again.”