President’s Report – February 2019

President Liam Edwards

As I head in to my final months of my term as President there is so much going on in the Association.

First of all, I would like to mention how far removed Shane Ross is from the reality of our sector after listening to his comments during the Irish Tourism Industry Awards on Friday. I would urge the Government to find the right man to lead us through the tough times that lie ahead.

The Irish Restaurant Awards are in full swing as preparation continue in the office. Nominations were up 4% on last year’s online voting which shows that these awards really capture the imagination of the public. We will have our independent judges looking over all the nominees and shortlisting them in advance of the Regional Awards which will begin in March. More details on venues, times and tickets will be released shortly.

We are also in the process of finalizing our AGM, Conference and President’s Dinner which will be held in the spectacular Europe Hotel in Killarney on Monday 8th of April. A full programme of events and speakers will be posted out to all members in a few weeks, but rooms can be booked in the Europe Hotel, as we speak.

My local TD, Minister Jim Daly, I feel, has shown a really good understanding of Rural Ireland with his proposal of using the Uber system in small towns. I know this is not straightforward but coming from a town the size of Kinsale at certain times we have customers who just can’t get home. I have seen these people walk on dangerous country roads because of the lack of Taxies. From a business point of view, I have to ask, “would these customers go through that stress again to dine in my restaurant?” I think we know the answer to this.

As we head towards D day in March, when Brexit will become a reality there is still tremendous uncertainty, we still don’t have a clue to what extent it will affect the tourism industry, so reliant on British visitors, all we can hope is that we survive this.

Before this date we will also have the introduction of the Employment Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2019 which introduces banded hours to employee contracts. I would urge members to read up on this while it does sound complicated it might be the case that a few changes in your contact would be enough, but we will have contract templates and more information from the WRC before it comes into force in March.