President’s Report – January 2021

Welcome to your January newsletter, 

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. 2021 will be a year of, hope and recovery and I am writing this newsletter cautiously optimistic about the coming year simply because it can never be as bad as what we all experienced last year.Our vaccine is currently being distributed in Nursing homes across the country. The government are aware of the urgency required here, it is a mammoth task, and we all hope that it is distributed quickly and efficiently so that lives and livelihoods return to normality. Minister Donnelly has reiterated that the Vaccine plan has been accelerated. All residents and staff in nursing homes will be vaccinated in the next 16 days. This is very much welcomed as many other countries seemed to be streets ahead.

The more swiftly the vaccine is rolled out the more swiftly the economy will begin to reopen. It is my expectation that our sector will be reopened by late March/early April and we can begin our period of recovery. In the meantime, we are lobbying government on a financial package that will give us a springboard into a full recovery. As the vaccine is rolledout in Europe, connectivity will return, and our airports will soon have the hustle and bustle we all wish for. I do have a feeling that this is the final hurdle of lockdowns for our industry and when our doors reopen, they reopen for good.

The EWSS will be a vital part of the recovery of our industry. It should not be disbanded until full connectivity returns to our airports and the flow of tourism comes back. The CRSS needs to be increased, the double payment is the minimum requirement for us until indoor dining reopens and it also needs to be more accessible to businesses, there are so many that have been trading on the cusp of 25% of turnover and are ineligible for any grant. We are very grateful for the grants to date but all monies received to date have gone on mortgages, rents, and utilities and cash flow is back to zero. Businesses are going to fold and jobs will be lost. The domino effect will hurt supply chains and so forth.

It is vital that more supports are made available as soon as possible. The rates waiver has been extended until the end of March and I feel that a warming up period should be in place and that waiver extended again until business returns to normal. The warehousing of tax liabilities needs to continue throughout this warming up period before the reduced interest rate of 3% comes into effect. I don’t think it is fully understood that there are many more challenges that we have not even begun to feel the effects of yet. Brexit will pose an enormous challenge for our sector and the hangover from the pandemic could be the perfect storm. We need to brace ourselves for what is about to come and there is no vaccine for the impact Brexit will have on our industry other than financial support.

For those of you that are currently operating in the form of a take away, I wish you the very best. For those that are digging the heels in and weathering the storm, I wish you the very best in the coming months.

Best Wishes,

Mark McGowan -President

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