Friday, 18 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Along with my colleagues I want to thank the staff of the House, Martin, Bridget and the team, who have been very welcoming since the first day I arrived here last April. I wish all my colleagues a safe, peaceful and happy Christmas.
Senator Casey alluded to the hospitality sector. Generations of my family have been in the hospitality sector in Galway. What is happening at the moment is frightening. Major issues are arising with regard to mental health and the well-being and livelihoods of families. I want to raise two issues with the Leader. First, all of this needs to be looked at in a more regional format. Thankfully, the figures in Galway are very low as they are in other counties. As alluded to by Senator Currie, there are major challenges in other counties on the Border but a more regional format needs to be considered.
Second, next week is Christmas week. In terms of the way the hospitality sector works, having respect for staff and families, there would be closure on Christmas Eve and possibly part of St. Stephen's Day. We need to send a clear message to the hospitality sector by Tuesday at the very latest. I was talking to a man this morning who employs more than 300 people in the sector in Galway. In terms of his four or five outlets he would have stock the value of which would be in the region of a six-figure sum. We have to be clear on the issue of orders. In respect of all orders that would have had to go in yesterday for supply in ten days' time across the food sector, I would ask for notice and certainty to be given. Every Member is correct that personal responsibility is important. It is also the responsibility of licence holders and hoteliers. I believe they are doing all they can do but it is crucial that we get notice and certainty at the earliest opportunity, possibly by Monday of next week or, at the very latest, on Tuesday because this is doing untold damage.
I thank the Cathaoirleach also and wish each and every Member a happy and safe Christmas.