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Hotelier warns of 'staggering' job losses

Jim Murphy, CEO of the Prem Group, has written to the Taoiseach and other senior ministers warning that 400,000 direct and indirect jobs are at risk.jimmurphy1120

He outlined a broad series of measures required to help the sector and was also critical of certain aspects of government communications during the pandemic, particularly the apparent leak in early October about the need for a new lockdown.
Jim Murphy said he understood the reasons for the move to Level 5 restrictions, but said the "leaking of advice given by Nphet to the Government caused dreadful stress for both customers and staff. It was extremely damaging for our business: weddings which were due to take place with food already prepped and bought perished; international conferences were cancelled and our corporate business simply dried up overnight".
He said it was imperative that sufficient notice be given to businesses about such changes.
In his letter Jim Murphy said that "a staggering and unprecedented" number of hospitality- and tourism-related jobs were in danger.


'Alarm bells are ringing, we must take immediate and decisive action to protect hospitality related jobs or, quite frankly Taoiseach, the industry will suffer a dreadful blow which will take decades to recover from. This will directly impact the tax take and increase the social welfare cost.'
Prem Group has almost 3,000 hotel rooms at 38 hotels in Ireland, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. The letter outlined how Prem Group had employed over 1,500 people at the beginning of March, 927 of them at Irish hotels and its head office. This had fallen to just 274 employees in its Irish division at the end of October, a 70pc drop.
The letter said government schemes such as the employment wage subsidy scheme, the reduction of the Vat rate for hotels, the local authority rates break and the re-opening grants had all been vital for the industry but that more was needed.
"The grim reality is that these measures will not be enough to support our industry," he said.
He  outlined a series of measures that he hoped the government would prioritise to help the industry, including moving to Level 2 restrictions rather than Level 3 in December so as to allow for travel between counties. He said that the wedding business had been "virtually wiped out" and he asked that numbers at an event be based on room capacity rather than a set number.



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