Short-Term Rental Bill cause Difficulty in Rural Ireland
The ISCF held a well-attended meeting entitled ‘Irish Tourism 2023 Opportunities and Challenges & Difficulty in Rural Tourism’ on Wednesday, February 1st at Buswell’s Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin. ISCF members, board members, industry representatives, and most importantly, TDs, were in attendance.
A range of topics was covered including the economic benefits of self-catering to rural areas, the effects of RPZs, why a registration system is welcome, the knock-on affects a lack of tourist accommodation will have, facts and figures, and the problems with the upcoming legislation, especially the planning requirements.
Members described the effect the changes will have as they recounted their own situations.
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh of ITIC stated that in regional Ireland 30% of the tourism accommodation stock is no longer available due to being contracted to Government for humanitarian purposes. “In Rural Ireland tourism is often the main economic activity and it is important that we protect the sector,” said O’Mara Walsh. “There will be a shortfall in hotels and guesthouses this year and it is important that the proposed short-term letting legislation does not worsen the situation and force regional self-catering tourism providers out of the market”.
Brendan Kenny of the IAAT stated that some activity providers were already under serious pressure, as there is a lack of accommodation in some areas along the Wild Atlantic Way, with the options at different price points being removed.
Tourism Minister Catherine Martin called for the closure of 12,000 units of self-catering when she launched this bill in December. This would take over €81 mil in income from rural areas each year according to Máire Ni Mhurchú Chair of the ISCF.
The ISCF has called for a Register to provide data on the quantity and quality of the industry, as has happened in Portugal, Spain, and other countries. Representing over 6,000 units of Self-Catering in Ireland Maire stated that ‘This is part of our family or farm income, our retirement plan, or the college fees for our children. There are many women in Ireland on family farms who do not have other income and depend on this for an independent income. We want regulation that is proportionate, balanced, and based on firm evidence. The proposals do not deal with planning issues in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) of the country, despite proposals being sent to the Department of Housing months ago
Politicians were interested to hear the attendees’ viewpoints, with some addressing those gathered with their own thoughts on the situation with the discussion led by James Flynn of Trident Holiday Homes.