Saturday 10 December 2016

Brendan O'Connor: We're a nation of hoteliers

Published 16/08/2015 | 02:30

Airbnb
Airbnb

Post diagnosis of national points of madness is easy. Anyone can look back now and say: "Ah you knew it had all gone too far when . . ."

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To try and see madness at the time, through everyone's madness, is a much more difficult thing. And it is not usually a thing that is welcomed. So it is with trepidation and a slight amount of delicacy that I suggest we may have hit one of those high points of madness that we will look back on in years to come and say: "We knew it had all gone mad when . . ."

In years to come, historians will view as some kind of significant point the moment when Irish people started kicking up about having to pay tax on turning their houses into boutique hotels. It will be referred to as the great Airbnb madness of 2015. But right now we just take it for granted, as another one of those things. Like the tradition of the bean an ti. And sure, haven't we always welcomed strangers from America into our houses? It's just that they used to claim to be distant relatives looking for their roots, and we usen't charge them. But now it's a whole new ball game. Everyone is an amateur Basil Fawlty or Francis Brennan these days.

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