HOTELIERS CALL FOR SUPPORT: Bernadette Randles previously pictured on the occasion of being elected chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation with fellow Kerry hoteliers.
Hotel and guesthouse owners in Kerry and across the country are calling on Paschal Donohue TD, Minister for Finance, and the Government to introduce a series of urgent measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, including the tourism and hospitality industry.
Over the past few weeks, the industry has been decimated with over 85 percent of hotels closed nationally and the majority of the 260,000 employees laid off or on short-time.
They are calling for a range of measures that will allow businesses to plan now for their recovery including Local Authority rates and water charges to be waived for a minimum period of 12 months; measures to assist with cash flow for businesses facing short term problems and VAT rates to be reduced to zero for a minimum of 12 months and until the industry has recovered, then restored to nine percent on a permanent basis.
Bernadette Randles, Chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation said that hoteliers appreciated that the country is experiencing the greatest health crisis in living memory and that significant resources are being committed to address the overriding issue of public health.
However, she warned that “every day’s delay in implementing the measures, results in greater risks to our tourism and hospitality industry.
"The health and well-being of all citizens is intertwined with the economy, and people will need livelihoods after the crisis is over. Tourism supports 11 percent of total employment nationally. It is important to note that 70 percent of these jobs are outside of Dublin which highlights its vital role in spreading employment opportunities and prosperity across the entire country. Here in Kerry, tourism supported 15,700 jobs and generated €592m in local revenues before this crisis,” she said.
Ms Randles noted the willingness of hotels to play their part in providing assistance to essential services where required by the HSE and other Government departments. She said that mitigating the impact of COVID-19 must go hand in hand with ensuring that Irish people have a viable economy to return to in the coming months.
“Irish tourism has been a key driver of job growth over the last decade, and it is essential that our industry remains to the fore of the national economic agenda, including in negotiations on the Framework for Government. Whilst discussions are ongoing, further measures are now urgently required to protect tourism livelihoods and address the enormous challenges we face. These challenges are existential for many tourism businesses and of a significantly greater scale than anything experienced during the last financial crisis."
“At present most of our industry nationally is closed. We are seeking an urgent response to ensure that hotel and guesthouse properties are preserved and ready to scale up when the COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted. Tourism and hospitality businesses are now working to secure the necessary funds to survive and restart."
Further rise in house prices forecast for 2022 as average price of a resale home in the capital reaches €500,000
According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values recorded in 2021. At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG) recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand […]
According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors
DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values
recorded in 2021.
At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG)
recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand home of 13.6% last year, a marked
acceleration in the rate of inflation compared to 2020 when prices rose by 1.4%.
At the national level (including Dublin) the overall rate of price increase last year stood at 12.0%. The NPG, which tracks house prices across the country on a half yearly basis, recorded growth of 5.3% in the six months to December 2021, compared to an increase of 7.9% in the first six months of last year.
All regions of Ireland recorded double digit price growth in 2021, except for Dublin (+9.9%).
Nationally, the strongest rate of house price appreciation was in the Mid-West region (+17.2%)
followed by the Midlands (+14.2%) and West (+13.8%) whilst the South East region saw the
lowest rate of growth in prices last year (+11.0%).
Outside the capital the highest average price was found in the Mid-East (€349,259) followed by the South West (€279,844).
Looking at the outlook for the year ahead, the agency forecasts further growth in prices both in
Dublin and nationally, with regional price gains set to outstrip those in the capital where nominal
values are already elevated, and affordability is more challenged.
The agency is forecasting an average uplift in regional markets of 12-13% this year whilst price growth in Dublin will more likely be high single digits, in the order of 6-8%.
The factors underpinning the forecasts include continued strong economic and wage growth, the heightened household savings levels seen in 2020-21, the extension of government initiatives for first time buyers announced in the budget, strong demand from this cohort evident in the mortgage approvals data and the prevailing low interest rate environment.
On the supply side, whilst the supply of new residential completions is set to increase to around 26,000 units this year, this will still be well below the estimated 30-35,000 new units required each year to meet demand thereby putting upward pressure on prices in the market.
“Whilst Covid-related issues rightly dominated the news agenda in 2021, housing undoubtedly came a close second, given the emotive nature of the housing debate and the current market dynamics of
rising house prices and rents and a shortage of accommodation available to buy or rent, not only
in Dublin but across the country.”, said DNG’s Director of Research Paul Murgatroyd said “Price growth was clearly very robust last year across all regions and the factors that drove those increases continue to be evident in the market as we enter 2022. The stock of homes for sale in the second hand market remains very low by historical standards and this, combined with the elevated level of demand, brought about in part by factors linked to changing behaviours throughout the pandemic, will mean further price appreciation will be evident as we progress through the year ahead.”
Iarnrod Eireann refuses plans for footbridge at railway station
By Sean Moriarty Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station. Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two […]
By Sean Moriarty
Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station.
Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two public transport hubs.
Currently rail passengers must walk from Killarney station, via the front entrance of the Great Southern Hotel and then walk the entire length of the Outlet Centre before reaching the bus station.
“It’s an anomaly that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other European country,” said Cllr O’Donoghue in November.
Iarnrod Eireann has responded to the letter sent shortly after the November meeting.
In reply the railway company said that in October 2019 it carried out a study which included the possibility of a either an underpass or a footbridge.
The study revealed that passenger would face a short four to five minute walk when trying to access one hub from another.
“Iarnrod Eireann would regard this as scheme as a low priority investment,” said chief executive Jim Meade in the letter.
Cllr Donoghue said the response was “ludicrous” and that he had often witnessed passengers lugging suitcases through the Outlet Centre.
“You would not jog it in five minutes,” he said.
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