Becky Kealy: Funding For Tourism A Good First Step In The Right DirectonAontú Rep for Cork North West, Becky Kealy has welcomed the announcement of a new €55 million fund to support tourism sector businesses detrimented by Covid-19, but has warned the government still has more to do.
“The Tourism sector is a massive sector of our economy both nationally and in my own county of Cork which has been absolutely devastated by Covid-19. Tens of thousands of jobs and livelihoods have been lost in a sector which employed over a quarter of a million people before Covid-19 struck. The turnover of the sector has been reduced by over 80%, from €7.5 billion to little over €1 billion. Before Christmas, the sector was speaking hopefully that 2021 would see the sector bounce back – thus far 2021 has been as painful, if not more painful than 2021. The Minister’s announcement today is a welcome boost to the sector but in reality €55 million is barely a drop in the ocean to a sector that has lost over €6 billion in annual turnover.”
“From pubs, to B&Bs, to coach operators, the sector has been unable to operate for the vast majority of the past year with inadequate government support. Their calls for support or government consideration of the sector, was met with dismissal of their concerns by the Taoiseach, who told the Dáil and the public that now is not the time to be complaining about the impact of Covid-19 upon a certain sector. The prospect for any income this year looks more and more bleak, as the government looks to keep an indefinite lockdown going following failures to expand ICU capacity and has refused to close our airports to stop Covid-19 coming into the country. Funding of any sort is welcome, but it is not enough. The Tourism sector needs to see an opportunity to recover, needs to see government working to reopen the sector or support the sector not just feeding struggling businesses bread crumbs.”