*Máire Ní Mhurchú, Chair of the ISCF speaking at last week’s Visit Clare Tourism Networking event in The Inn At Dromoland. Photo Eamon Ward.

ECONOMIC value of short-term lets across a 32 week tourism season in Co Clare has been calculated at €4.8m.

The Irish Self-Catering Federation (ISCF), the representative body for more than 6,500 self-catering properties in Ireland, has welcomed the decision by the Elected Members of Clare County Council to request the Government to pause the proposed roll-out of the Short-Term Tourist Lettings (STTL) Register.

Last Monday, Clare councillors passed a motion which is seeking a derogation from Government, also referred to as the Grandfather Rule in the UK, for all existing self-catering businesses to continue operating.

Fáilte Ireland are scheduled to roll out the national online registration system this summer and it will require all proprietors who offer short term tourist lettings to register their properties annually, a move the ISCF says will have exacerbate the existing acute tourism accommodation shortage in Clare and the West of Ireland in particular.

Máire Ní Mhurchú, Chair of the ISCF said there is a critical shortage of available bed nights in Clare and an urgent need for clear planning guidelines around the development of glamping and other self-catering businesses to be established. “We are calling on Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to sit down with the ISCF to ensure no self-catering businesses, many of which are small family rural tourism businesses, are lost when the Register is introduced later this year”.

She added, “Issues with planning need to be sorted first, with a derogation for all existing STL businesses. Clear guidelines for planners and owners are essential before the Register is introduced”.

Cork native Máire continued, “A recent report published by Fáilte Ireland highlighted that the Clare tourism economy is being negatively impacted by the fact that 33% of tourism beds in the County are tied into contracts with the Department of Integration. Yet, the Government is moving ahead with its plans for the Register, which could lead to forced exit from the market of some short-term accommodation providers”.

“Short-term accommodation such as glamping and holiday homes are a niche but significant generator of income for rural communities across Clare. With an average of 6 people per house spending a minimum of €250 in the local economy, the economic value of 100 self-catering short-term tourist properties in Clare over a 32-week tourism season would be €4.8m. This would result in significant, additional pressures being placed on local cafes, shops, restaurants, craft shops, galleries and other tourist-focused services,” she added.

Supplementary income of many families operating within the sector will be significantly impacted should the Register proceed as scheduled, she warned. “The ISCF very much welcomes the motion carried by Elected Members in Clare which urges the Tourism and Housing Ministers to suspend the mandatory registration of STLs until full consultation has been granted and full clarification has been issued regarding the planning permission process. This is required to allay the fears and reduce anxiety for the hosts.”

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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