A HOTEL has shut down its food and beverage business after more than 80 guests fell ill.
Health service bosses were last night investigating the cause of the outbreak among guests who attended functions last week at the 250-bedroom Regency Hotel, in Drumcondra, north Dublin.
Hotelier John Glynn said they intended to be back in full operation as soon as possible after contract chemical cleaning firm ISS was hired to work "around-the-clock" to decontaminate the premises.
"They are doing a complete blitz and I am waiting for a result back from the laboratories," the general manager of the hotel said.
Mr Glynn, who operated the four-star Clayton Hotel in Galway and was involved in the mammoth Citywest resort, said he had experienced outbreaks in the trade previously but this was the "single biggest one" he had encountered.
Mr Glynn said it was being treated seriously and all food and beverage operations ceased on Monday. Functions were cancelled until the premises was fully decontaminated.
Around 80 to 100 people have reported feeling ill after attending events at the hotel during an extremely busy week with cabaret dinners and Christmas functions.
Mr Glynn stressed investigations were under way into the cause of the outbreak but it would "appear it was a winter bug". The infectious norovirus bug can cause gastro-upset and vomiting.
The hotelier stressed it was a "difficult time" for the entire hotel industry and this was the "last thing" the hotel needed in one of its busiest periods of the year.
Mr Glynn said he felt for customers and also the 200 staff who were "depending on the income this week to ensure Santa Claus for their kids and to pay their mortgages".
One man told the Irish Independent that members of his family had been "violently ill" and an elderly relation had been taken to hospital.
The HSE Department of Public Health confirmed it is currently investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in guests attending a north Dublin hotel. Initially around four people reported to the hotel that they felt ill on Thursday and a HSE inspector visited the hotel.
Further complaints were received over the weekend and hotel management met with the HSE on Monday.
Samples of water, food, ice and from staff were taken to attempt to identify the source.
However, a number of guests staying at the hotel -- which had also originally housed some of the residents told to vacate the troubled Dublin apartment complex Priory Hall -- had chosen to remain on the premises.