ATTEMPTS for locals to source permanent accommodation in seaside parts of Co Clare has become “virtually impossible”.

Hospitality businesses in the county are finding it “almost impossible” to hire skilled staff, Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan admitted. Despite placing job adverts over recent months, he outlined that the only persons making themselves available are living in countries outside the European Union.

A knock-on effect will be experienced in how hospitality businesses operate, he predicted. “This is going to be a difficult summer for traders in getting the type of help they need, this will be evident particularly in a curtailment of services so cafes and restaurants may open for less hours or less days in the week”.

Thousands of skilled workers left the Irish hospitality industry during COVID-19, Michael claimed with the several returning to their native countries in Europe. “They found the standard of living has improved, Poland is one case in point where the standard of living has improved, Lahinch families from Poland returned home, they had been embedded in the community”. He doesn’t expect students to return to this type of work in the summer of 2022. “Students had built up a tiger chest from the PUP and they won’t return to hospitality for another year or two”.

Hindering businesses such as Vaughan Lodge Hotel is the price of housing in coastal locations such as Lahinch, he acknowledged. “By the seaside it is virtually impossible to get reasonable accommodation for staff with the prices that houses are selling. It is proving to be a real difficulty for hospitality whether it is in Lisdoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Spanish Point or Ennis”.

Emphasising this is the fact that a house on the School Rd in Lahinch sold for €500,000 in the past week when the same scheme of houses would have previously been on the market for €250,000 to €300,000. Michael called this “mind-boggling prices”. “t wouldn’t be a local that could afford this, Lahinch has become almost a place for holiday makers and the elite to live, local people who might aspire to work and live locally here have been priced out of it”.

Vaughan believed there was a “great opportunity” to develop social housing in Ennistymon, Lisdoonvarna and Inagh, “they could become dormitory towns and advance plans to make them sustainable places to live in”.

Presently with the cast of Smother filming the third series of the RTÉ drama, he said that Lahinch is “reasonably busy”. Between cast and crew, he outlined that 40-60 people are staying in the village as a result, “they are going into pubs at night and for lunch and dinner, it is a bit of an early boom for the season. We saw in last couple of weeks people coming to holiday homes, the season is unusual, people are making up for lost times and it is really busy at weekends”.

 

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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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