Fianna Fáil politicians to call on Taoiseach to meet hospitality sector

Fianna Fáil politicians will call on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to meet the hospitality sector and for Covid-19 financial supports for the industry to be retained and revamped at a private meeting of the party this evening.

It comes after Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators met representatives of restaurateurs and publicans on Wednesday afternoon amid concern over the continuing impact of the pandemic on the sector.

The Government imposed a midnight curfew last week as infections continued to rise. And there are fears of renewed restrictions if the situation does not improve.

Restaurants and pubs have been hit by cancellations of Christmas parties and other bookings as the public scale back plans to socialise.

The hospitality industry has called for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to be extended at current rates into 2022. The top rates are due to fall at the start of December and it is to close to new entrants at the end of the year.

A number of Fianna Fáil politicians have backed this call.

Quiet months

Mayo TD Dara Calleary told the Dáil on Tuesday that restaurants, hotels and nightclubs are suffering from cancellations and a “specific response” is needed to the situation they face.

He said many such businesses need the increased revenue before Christmas to sustain them during the quiet months of January, February and March. And he has called for an extension of the EWSS and the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).

Mr Calleary told the hospitality industry on Wednesday that he supports the extension of the EWSS at current rates.

The industry was told that three Fianna Fáil Oireachtas members – Dublin South-West TD John Lahart and Senators Ollie Crowe and Pat Casey will table a motion on supports for the sector at Wednesday evening’s parliamentary party meeting.

The Irish Times understands the motion will say there is a need for the Taoiseach, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath and other Ministers to meet the hospitality sector given the “unique and disproportional” impact the pandemic has had on the industry.

It seeks the retention of the EWSS in its current format, calls for a revamped CRSS and for the continuation of the commercial rates waiver.

The motion also calls for the extension of the option to warehouse tax liabilities.

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