President’s Report – March 2021
|Welcome to your March newsletter,
After a very long and dark winter a touch of spring is in the air and we can look forward to brighter days ahead. It is hard to believe we are a full year into this pandemic. It has tested us to the very core and one word that continuously pops up is “Resilience”. Restauranteurs have had a roller coaster of a pandemic and we have dug deep to keep our businesses afloat. We have had a helping hand from the Government in the form of restart grants, VAT reductions, wage subsidies, business supports and the warehousing of VAT. Even with these supports however, restrictions have gone on much longer than anticipated and businesses are now hanging on by a thread. We are desperate for one final push to get us through until our reopening. Fixed costs are killing business, we require a doubling of the CRSS
scheme to stabilise the sector before it falls off a cliff edge. UK businesses are being granted up to £18k in a kick start scheme that will stimulate their economy. We are going to need something similar. Please contact your local TD and tell them your story.
On the 22nd of February, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin made the announcement that there would be six further weeks of level 5 lockdown. I was disheartened by the lack of empathy and the disrespect shown towards Irish businesses. We had urged the government to give us some clarity on our reopening so we can prepare. I am well aware that the cases remain high and it is too soon to make any decisions on dates but they could communicate to us the level of vaccination required to get us open safely. I do not think there is a full understanding of the importance of this and I think that our leaders should reflect and commit to being more communicative with us.
Pressure is mounting on insurance companies after FBD lost their case to four publicans at the start of February. We have sent a letter to the Governor of the Central Bank seeking for the Central Bank to join as a notice party as we make a claim to the High Court against these insurers that are declining cover for business interruption. If you have received correspondence from your insurer in the form of a declinature letter, please send it and your policy to firstname.lastname@example.org for review and our legal team will look over it. Time is of the essence because any business that liquidates will automatically lose any chance of claiming for business interruption. The recent result in the FBD case is good news for us, we just need to continue to work hard. It is my hope that the entire insurance industry is reformed. It is disgraceful how dishonest some of these insurance companies have been and their day will come very soon. We continue to lobby for insurance reform as we have been doing so for the last number of years, including as members of the Alliance for Insurance Reform.
Failte Ireland announced an outdoor dining grant in early February. I was under the impression that this grant would be distributed throughout the hospitality sector to assist with huge costs associated with transforming our businesses into an outdoor dining scenario. Failte Ireland decided to distribute the funds across ten towns south of the Dublin to Galway railway line. I am seeking clarity on this issue and we have raised it with Failte Ireland to establish exactly what way the money will be distributed. We are constantly seeking inclusion as a trade representative body in decision making including in the area of grants and supports as our knowledge and council is invaluable when it comes to hospitality and we can assist with the recovery plan for the economy.
For any of you operating as a takeaway, I hope it is keeping you and your teams active, I hope you have an excellent March.
Mark McGowan -President
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