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Kerry hotels low occupancy in December

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By Sean Moriarty

Latest figures released by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) show the massive challenge facing the hospitality sector in Kerry. Over 3,500 people are employed locally in the hotel or allied trades sector. County-wide this figure increases to over 15,000.

The latest IHF figures have raised further concern for the sector, following months of lockdown and a lack of consumer confidence as a result of pandemic-related restrictions.

Inter-county travel is prohibited until today (December 18) but hotel operators still need to invest significant amounts to comply with current regulations.

The decimation of lucrative Christmas party business is also causing concern to hoteliers and restaurateurs.

Chair of the IHF Kerry branch, Bernadette Randles says that occupancy levels are expected to be 21 percent in the South West. Ms Randles says that hotels continue to operate under severe restrictions resulting in historically low room bookings in the lead up to Christmas. This is having a knock-on effect on food and beverage revenues and comes at a time when bookings for corporate events and Christmas parties have been wiped out .

URGENCY

Ms Randles called on the Government to review the enormous shortcomings in the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) as a matter of urgency as many hotels project revenue drops in excess of 75 percent.

“Currently accommodation providers can only accept bookings from within their county, which represents only a very small proportion of hotel accommodation at this time of year. The result is that, in order to comply with Government restrictions, accommodation providers are required to restrict the vast majority of their usual customer base from accessing their premises. This is having an enormous impact, leading to a collapse in turnover. Surely a 75 percent reduction in turnover due to the Government specifically not allowing people leave their county is exactly the type of devastating situation that the CRSS was intended to support?” she said.

“Public health is the number one priority, and we support the Government’s aim of reopening the country safely. However, hotels and guesthouses continue to be disproportionately impacted by Government restrictions with disastrous implications for revenue and related employment within our sector. We are seeking a level playing field and are calling on the Government to reconsider their approach to the operation of the CRSS so that further damage is not done to the sector. Pre-COVID, tourism in Kerry, of which hotels are a key component, supported 15,700 jobs and generated €592m in local revenues,” says Ms Randles.

The IHF survey was carried out during the week of Monday, December 7 and the results are based on the response of 278 properties with 30,700 guest rooms spread across the country.

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Lee Strand awarded Gold in Sustainability Programme

Lee Strand was recognised once again for their exceptional performance and commitment to sustainability with Gold Membership at the Origin Green 2022 awards. Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink […]

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Lee Strand was recognised once again for their exceptional performance and commitment to sustainability with Gold Membership at the Origin Green 2022 awards.

Origin Green is Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme led by Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board. Gold Membership is awarded to companies who demonstrate an exceptional annual performance on their sustainability targets.

“We are delighted Lee Strand is recognised once again with the prestigious Origin Green Gold Membership for our commitment to sustainability,” Gearoid Linnane, CEO said.

“In Lee Strand environmental management and sustainability are key elements of our business model, from launching 100% renewable cartons, to reducing water usage and energy efficiency. This is a great achievement by our sustainability team who are continually striving for higher levels of environmental excellence. We would also like to thank Veronica Kennelly from the Munster Technological University who assisted Lee Strand in the development of our Origin Green plan.”

Origin Green continues to evolve to ensure Bord Bia is helping Irish food and drink companies to remain up to date with the evolving needs of trade customers and their consumers, globally. With the introduction of the Origin Green credits system in early 2022, it is now easier to identify members who are performing at a high level or excelling in their sustainability performance.

To retain ongoing membership of Origin Green, companies must subsequently submit an annual review to demonstrate clear progress against the established targets and initiatives set. This annual review is subject to an independent third-party review by their verification authority Mabbett. This ensures minimum programme requirements are consistently met and maintained. Companies receive credits for their performance in areas such as raw material sourcing; water and energy efficiency; waste reduction; packaging; and social sustainability. Origin Green has established five different membership tiers based on company size and turnover, so that a real diversity of industry is reflected in the overall Gold Membership.

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Shock at the death of “wonderful community activist”

There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known. Yvonne, from […]

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There was a great sense of shock over the weekend when new of the death of Yvonne Quill, a Tidy Towns champion and wonderful community activist, became known.

Yvonne, from Barleymount and formerly of the Cafe, College Street, passed away following a short illness on Friday. Requiem Mass takes place this morning (Monday) at 11am in The Prince of Peace Church, Fossa, followed by burial in Aghadoe Lawn Cemetery.

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President Niall Kelleher said she will be very fondly remembered as an incredibly dedicated woman, a strong personality who led by example and spearheaded the town’s Tidy Towns committee with such passion for over 25 years.

He recalled that her proudest day was when, as chairperson of the Killarney Looking Good Committee, she inspired Killarney to the prestigious overall national award in 2011 which had proved so elusive prior to that.

“Yvonne led by example and she never asked anyone to do something she wouldn’t do herself. You would seldom see her without the yellow bib, playing her part and showing us all what needed to be done to give Killarney the edge,” Mr Kelleher said.

“While winning the overall prize was something special, Killarney has never been far from the top and it has won a gold medal almost every year which is testament to Yvonne’s great ability to organise, her steely determination and her unrivalled ability to rally the troops,” he added.

The Chamber President also remembered her as a great businesswoman, a master baker and confectioner whose café on College Street was a must-visit for a whole generation of Killarney people and visitors.

“Yvonne Quill has left a great legacy in her home town. We thank her for what she has done, we’ll remember her incredible work ethic and we’ll ensure her name will live on in Killarney by continuing the commitment to the Tidy Towns initiative.”

Johnny McGuire, a member of the executive of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, who worked alongside Yvonne at the helm of the Tidy Towns committee, said she was a born leader who inspired the whole community and always led by example.

“Killarney would never have won the All-Ireland Tidy Towns award without her. She was the inspirational captain of the winning team. Yvonne worked night and day and, when it came to Tidy Towns, there was no downtime for her,” Mr McGuire said.

“Her commitment to the cause brought her into every school and every housing estate in Killarney. Working closely with the late Fr Michael Murphy, her great friend, Kathleen Foley, and others, they really put Killarney in contention for the top awards every year. The name Yvonne Quill was known and respected in Tidy Towns circles throughout the entire country – she really was a legend and everything she turned her hand to,
she succeeded. Killarney will miss her,” he added.

She will be deeply missed by her husband John, children Peter, Sandra and Sean, her son-in-law Peter, daughter-in-law Mairéad, grandchildren Anna, Jake, Ted, Abby and Luke, sister Angela Mulvey, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and extended family, friends, neighbours and the community.

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