*The Auburn Lodge received the highest level of payments for accommodating Ukrainians than any other Clare hotel last year.
A NUMBER OF Clare hotel operators last year shared out a €21.27m (all figures 23pc VAT) bonanza from accommodating Ukrainians.
New figures from the Department of Integration show that two Lisdoonvarna based hotels received in excess of a combined €6.49m in 2022.
The detailed figures show that the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna operated by James White & Co UC last year received €2.79m.
The directors of the firm are listed as Megan White, David Giblin and Ann Barrett and the firm now has unlimited status where it is no longer required to file accounts to show the level of profits it makes.
The Hydro Hotel Ltd also based in Lisdoonvarna received €3.7m for accommodating Ukrainians. Marcus White and Somjai Kaewmahawong are listed as directors.
The figures also show that Kilkee Townhouse Ltd, the operator of the Kilkee Bay Hotel and owned by Derek Logue last year received payments of €3.24m for accommodating Ukrainians.
The Co Clare hotel which received the highest level of payments for accommodating Ukrainians in 2022 is the Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis.
The hotel operator, Camison Ltd last year received €3.85m for accommodating Ukrainians. The Auburn Lodge is owned and operated by members of the Lyne family who have a long association of operating hotels in the county, including the Queen’s Hotel in Ennis town centre.
The Waterford based Treacy hotel group operate Treacy’s West County Hotel in Ennis. The figures show that the firm which operates the West County hotel, Timbertoes UC last year received €1.07m in State payments for accommodating Ukrainians. Timbertoes also has unlimited status where its financial results are not open to public scrutiny.
A sister hotel to Treacy’s West County Hotel is Treacy’s Oakwood Hotel in Shannon and separate figures show that hotel operator, Shannon Estuary Hotel Ltd received €1.18m in payments for accommodating Ukrainians.
The figures also show that the operator of the Bunratty Castle hotel which is owned by the Meadows and Byrne Group received €719,200 for accommodating Ukrainians.
The profits from accommodating Ukrainians would be much lower for the operators after all the various costs are factored in.
The owner of the Rowan Tree Hostel in Ennis, the Galway based Dom St Properties Ltd received €1.89m in 2022.
The successful health recruitment firm co-owned and operated by Ennis man, Brian Crowley, TTM Healthcare Ltd last year received €2.84m for accommodating Ukrainians and related costs.
Asked to comment on the figures, Lahinch hotelier, Michael Vaughan said that entering into State contracts is very attractive to hotel owners operating in areas of the county where the season is short as the contracts guarantee occupancy year round.
However, Mr Vaughan stated that the use of hotels for Ukrainians has contributed to a diminished tourist footfall in certain parts of Clare as the tourism ecosystem around the hotels has suffered.
He said that the lost business has not been displaced to other parts of the county because there isn’t enough accommodation in Clare with Government taking around 37pc of all holiday accommodation in the country for a variety of reasons
He said, “The streets of Lahinch are much quieter this summer and restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlours season are reporting a season that is much diminished”.
Mr Vaughan said that a special county task force should be established to examine the impact on small tourism businesses of making available the accommodation for Government purposes.
He said, “We have not seen any great attempts to replace the tourist accommodation lost with other accommodation and I don’t have any disagreement with the operators who have gone into Government contracts – they have done the State some service”.
Mr Vaughan said, “I find it very worrying for tourism. It is our greatest indigenous industry and it shows a complete lack of policy that we allow this to continue without mitigation measures in place”.