Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism, and Sport Marc Mac Sharry TD says the Tourism Recovery Taskforce established by the government, while welcome, lacks frontline representation and is not sufficiently geographically diverse.

Deputy Mac Sharry said, “I welcome the establishment of the tourism taskforce. There is significant expertise on this taskforce but I do believe this membership needs to be expanded to reflect other elements within the tourism sector.  

“I believe the exclusion of any representation from Vintners or anyone with experience working in the North West is clearly an oversight. The North West is an extremely important tourism destination. Many towns and villages in this region rely on revenue generated by tourists. They should have a voice at this table.

“The Vintners account for a huge amount of our hospitality trade from the local pub to gastro pubs and other establishments. They should also have a role on this taskforce.

“The Minister should consider Donal O’Keefe of the Licenced Vintners Association, Padraig Cribben of the Vintners Federation of Ireland and an appropriate individual from the hospitality sector in the North West to ensure the taskforce is adequately formidable in dealing with the challenges the whole sector faces.

“There are over 260k people employed in the hospitality sector who are unlikely to be returning to work until later this summer or in the autumn. This is a sector which generates over 7bn in revenue going on last years figures. We need to get this right and rise to the crucial challenge of rejuvenating our tourism industry who, if properly supported, can lead the recovery in the post COVID-19 era,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.