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COVID-19 effect for local economies reliant on tourism ‘disastrous’ – Murphy

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*Cllr Cillian Murphy. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Protections are being sought for the approximate 6,500 jobs in Clare’s tourism sector with COVID-19 expected to have a “disastrous” impact on the industry.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty (FG) has received correspondence from Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) who has highlighted the growing fear among seasonal works facing long-term unemployment due to a decrease in tourism.

Cllr Murphy outlined that small business owners in the county are “very concerned” with their inability to rehire their regular seasonal workers during the summer and autumn months. They are fearful of a “disastrous long term impact on their local communities.”

Clare has approximately 6,500 people employed in the tourism industry, many of which are seasonal workers.

“There is a huge number of local people who will not now have jobs to take up due to the decrease in tourists visiting our well-known holiday destinations. A significant future negative consequence from the global pandemic will be the long term impact on these tourist destinations who will see income streams significantly reduced this year,” the Kilkee representative outlined.

He warned, “The knock on effect for communities whose economies are almost totally reliant on tourism will be disastrous. Many of the year round businesses in our communities survive in the off season from the spending capacity derived from income earned during the summer season.

“I believe the Minister should strongly consider their unique circumstances as they face prolonged periods on social welfare payments in the highly unlikely event of being able to source alternative jobs. The coronavirus has an impact on every facet of society. Seasonal workers are no different and the Government should acknowledge that as we slowly move toward the next phase in this coronavirus crisis, recovery,” Murphy concluded.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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