SINN Féin have today published a proposal for an economic stimulus plan for the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Pearse Doherty, the party’s finance spokesperson says that the plan – amounting to over €860 million – would revive two sectors hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a particular boost to areas such as Donegal that are heavily dependent on tourism and hospitality.
Under this scheme, every adult in the State would receive a voucher worth €200, while every child would be entitled to a voucher worth €100, to be spent in businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Deputy Doherty launched the plan along with Darren O’Rourke TD.
“The tourism and hospitality sectors have been two of the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic and urgent government intervention is required to support workers and families and to save jobs and businesses,” Deputy Doherty said.
“I have met and spoken with those in the sector in Donegal in recent weeks and this is the type of initiative and support they require to survive, along with of course the major grant and financial aid package that we have been calling for for SME’s since this crisis took hold.
“Tourism is the State’s largest indigenous industry, employing 265,000 people, with 68% of these jobs outside of Dublin.
“Donegal, and the Wild Atlantic Way, relies on thriving tourism and hospitality sectors. Both are crucial in providing employment and the success of the local economy is reliant on it.
“Around 92% of workers in the accommodation and food sectors have received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or have been on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, while the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation is estimating a hit to the sector in the region of €3.5 billion in 2020.
“With restrictions on travel to the State remaining in place, Sinn Féin believes a substantial economic stimulus is urgently needed to revive these sectors.
“This scheme will support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the state, including in this county.
“This plan will also give workers and families the welcome option of a break away or days out after what has been an extraordinarily difficult period.
“Similar stimulus plans have been introduced around the world. Italy has a similar plan to encourage people to holiday at home, Vienna is giving residents vouchers for restaurants in the city and the United States is distributing billions of dollars in stimulus cheques directly to residents.
“The plan would see each adult receive a voucher worth €200 to be used in domestic businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors, while every child would be entitled to a voucher worth €100.
“This would be non-means tested and available to every resident in the State. That means it will assist those unable to afford a break, but also encourage those who can to spend their vouchers, plus more, in our local economies.
“This is an investment in jobs and businesses. Without intervention now, thousands of jobs will be lost permanently, costing the State considerably more in the long-run. This voucher will be vital for the future of Donegal tourism and hospitality.”