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Seasonal businesses face closure unless Government steps in

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By Sean Moriarty

Local seasonal tourism related businesses could face permanent closure unless they are included in the Government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

As hotels and guesthouses in Killarney get ready to reopen on Monday next the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is calling on the Government to expand the current Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) to include seasonal tourism employees.

A discrepancy exists in the Government scheme where hotels and other related business that had not reopened after the winter break prior to the COVID-19 shutdown will not be able to pay their staff wages through TWSS.

Those that were operating prior to the shutdown will be able to avail of the scheme.

There are other concerns too, like due to COVID-19 safety guidelines tourism and hospitality businesses including hotels, will be operating under significant operating constraints this summer.

As a result, income is expected to be significantly down on previous years but tourism sector operators will be faced with higher operating costs.

Bernadette Randles, the Chair of the local branch of the IHF said that the issue was not exclusive to hotel operators and that any business that only operates in the peak tourism months of March to October could face financial ruin despite planning to reopening next week.

The TWSS is just one way seasonal tourism business operators could offset some financial difficulties but, as it stands, they will not qualify for the scheme unlike their full-time colleagues.

As a result there will be job losses and some businesses may not reopen at all this year and some are concerned that they could face closure further down the line if they do open this week.

They, through representations being made by IHF, are calling on the Government to extend the scheme to seasonal businesses and not just restrict it to full-time operators.

There are over 17,000 people directly employed in the tourism sector in Kerry and it is estimated that one-third of these are seasonal employees.

“It is just not fair,” Ms Randles told the Killarney Advertiser. “Every other business sector got looked after and if this is not actioned then you are looking at either closures, or some that won’t reopen at all this year and that will amount to high levels of unemployment which will cost the Government even more money. The Government has done absolutely nothing to help.”

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Students awarded for their contribution to school life

By Michelle Crean Students were honoured for their contribution to school life this week during a special end of year awards ceremony. Held in the school gym on Wednesday afternoon, […]

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By Michelle Crean

Students were honoured for their contribution to school life this week during a special end of year awards ceremony.

Held in the school gym on Wednesday afternoon, the students from St Brigid’s Presentation were presented with a variety of awards from sport to science, music and visual art while Sixth Year student Saoirse Coffey received the Orla Benson Award.

“During this school year, our students have showcased their brilliance and extensive talents,” teacher Adrienne Brosnan, said.

“We are all so proud of these outstanding achievements across all aspects of school life. Awards day is a truly special occasion for all members of the St Brigid’s community and one which we relish the opportunity to celebrate. It is a time of anticipation, a time of excitement and a time of great joy. The awards that are presented are a testament to that dedication and we also acknowledge all the great work that is done by the teachers here in St Brigid’s.”

Sixth Year students also said their final goodbyes ahead of their State exams next month.

“We wish them the best of luck as they spread their wings and leave the shelter of St Brigid’s for the beginning of a new adventure.”

AWARD WINNERS

Other awards winners were:

Anna Dunlea received the Contribution to Graphics award while Leah Vinluan got the Design and Communication Graphics award.

Clodagh O’Connor and Sarah O’Sullivan both received the Contribution to Visual Art award.

Abbie Finan was awarded Soccer: Player of the Year, Chloe Hue Senior Football: Player of the Year, Emily Buckley 1st Year Football: Player of the Year, Abbey Cronin 2nd Year Football: Player of the Year, and Andrea Murphy Junior Football; Player of the Year, Senior Basketball: Most Valued Player went to Tara Donnellan, the Minor Basketball: Most Valued Player was given to Ciara O’Sullivan and the Cadette Basketball: Most Valued Player went to Leah McMahon.

Kara Huggard earned herself the LCA Student of the Year, Sarah McGrath received the CEIST Award, Excellence in Science was awarded to Emma Myers and Jennie O’Mahony, while Rita Akhter received the Overall Contribution to STEM.

Bríd O’Connor who wrote the book Spark presented Saoirse O’Sullivan with the Outstanding Achievements in Music award.

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Businesses face closure due to staff shortages

Hospitality sector businesses might have to close a few days a week to off-set staff shortages. Fáilte Ireland last week launched a recruitment drive to attract part-time workers into hospitality […]

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Hospitality sector businesses might have to close a few days a week to off-set staff shortages.

Fáilte Ireland last week launched a recruitment drive to attract part-time workers into hospitality and tourism roles, where it is estimated that there is as much as a 40,000 shortage in such roles for the peak summer season.

Damien McCarthy of HR Consultancy firm HR Buddy, founded in Killarney but now based in the RDI Hub in Killorglin, said that workers are losing out due to a more cashless society.

“Hospitality businesses may have to consider shutting their doors or decreasing their operational hours during the peak summer season as many businesses such as bars, restaurants, cafes, B&Bs and hotels are struggling to find staff for the demand. The industry is suffering over these few current weeks in particular as many part-time student workers are not available due to college and Leaving Cert exams. This shows how dependant the industry has become on young student workers,” he said.

“Many service industry workers choose part-time or casual work in hospitality roles because of the tip bonus, but this has even been impacted negatively now as most tips are taxed because they are coming in electronically. The worker is losing out and this key attraction tool that existed when we were a more cash orientated society in pre-pandemic times, is now gone.”

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