Wednesday 27 March 2019

'No change' to North-South bodies, says tourism minister

Junior Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke
Junior Tourism Minister Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke

Martin Grant

The Government has said there will be no changes to how North-South bodies operate in the wake of the Brexit referendum vote.

Addressing the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Malahide, Co Dublin, yesterday, Junior Tourism Minister Patrick O'Donovan said organisations such as Tourism Ireland would continue to operate as before.

Members of the Dáil and Seanad, along with politicians from the UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey and Jersey, met to discuss the implication of the Brexit vote.

The politicians voiced their strong opposition to the reintroduction of a hard border between the North and South, and also spoke about the need to protect tourism between Ireland and Britain.

During his keynote speech, Mr O'Donovan focused on the issue of tourism and said the Government would do "everything it can" to ensure the implications of the Brexit vote would have the least possible impact.

"There will be no changes, and there are no changes to how North-South bodies, including Tourism Ireland, will operate.

"The strong spirit of partnership developed since the Good Friday Agreement will be a priority for the Government," he told the meeting.

And Mr O'Donovan warned that hotel prices in Dublin cannot return to Celtic Tiger levels when they "spiralled out of control".

"We cannot go down that road again and hotels have to be very clear that we can't afford a situation where people are coming into Ireland and experiencing what they experienced between 2004 and 2008. There is a shortage of hotel accommodation in Dublin and this is something we will have to come to terms with. We can't have a situation where you arrive in Dublin Airport and the next available hotel room is in Drogheda or in Carlow, that's just not acceptable."

The Limerick TD also voiced his support during the debate to retain the 9pc tourism Vat rate in the upcoming Budget.

He added that the rate was of critical importance to the hotel industry outside Dublin.

Irish Independent

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