Seanad debates

Friday, 18 December 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:00 am

Garret Ahearn (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Last night's news that the hospitality industry might need to close early again is devastating for many businesses around the country which have put in considerable effort to reopen and provide a service for their community, town or city during the Christmas period. These businesses have bought stock on the assumption they would be open until early in the new year. Even though people tried not to talk about it, there was always a feeling that they might need to close in January, but no one foresaw that it could happen between Christmas and the new year.

In different areas of the country the hospitality industry has faced this situation of having to close down and reopen three, four or five times. Every time it has asked for clarity as quickly as possible, which I know is a challenge. Almost every time the decisions made for the hospitality industry in particular have been in line with the NPHET recommendations. If we go with the recommendations NPHET gave last night, I urge especially at this time of year that we give those guidelines to the hospitality industry as quickly as possible. As others have said, those in the sector have done a considerable amount in recent weeks to reopen their premises, taking the risk of them and their employees contracting the virus. I ask that they be given as much clarity as possible. It is an extremely difficult time for them. Obviously, we worry about the people who want to go out and socialise during Christmas, but the most important thing is to give clarity to the people working there.

I thank you, a Chathaoirligh, Martin Groves, Bridget Doody and everyone in Leinster House for the phenomenal work they have done in the past six or nine months that I have had the privilege to be a Senator.I am very new and I want to wish all of my colleagues well over the Christmas period. It has been a pleasure working with everyone and learning from seasoned as well as new politicians. Everyone has performed extremely well and it has been a pleasure to be here.

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