Monday 14 October 2019

'That €40m will be spent in a flash'


John O'Neill
John O'Neill

Aoife Walsh

THE €40m earmarked for the tourism sector will be spent "in a flash", a hotelier has said.

John O'Neill (58) runs the Hamlet Hotel in Co Meath and is concerned how the Budget will impact on disposable income. He's also disappointed to see an increase in carbon tax.

With Brexit looming, Mr O'Neill said that the Budget was "prudent".

"From our own perspective, we're just concerned," he told the Irish Independent.

"We're so exposed in the English market with the devaluation of sterling and the increase in VAT. It's very hard to be competitive with what's available in the marketplace in the UK at the moment.

"We're a little worried about the cost of doing business generally. Some of it is not Budget-related but we're about to start our budget for next year and I think all my bottom-line figures are going to go north," he added.

"We're also worried about the domestic economy. Has it taken more disposable income off people in general?

"All in all, with what's on the horizon with Brexit, I think it was very prudent."

He continued: "They did pump €40m into infrastructure for tourism, which is great.

"The hospitality and tourism industry could in a flash spend €40m.

"But look, half a loaf is better than no bread. We have a lot of homeless, and kids' hospital bills. There's only a limited amount of finance there with all that's gone on. I think we have to be realistic.

"The way I would look at it for our own business is I'm concerned.

"I'm really concerned about the Brexit fallout and the valuation of sterling.

"The carbon tax is going to add more cost and as indicated, it will rise year on year.

"While there's no increase immediately, at €80 a tonne it will definitely add a cost," he said.

Irish Independent

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