New short term lettings laws could damage tourism in Galway

Proposed new planning rules for short term lettings must be published and debated before a new registration system is introduced, according to Irish Self Catering Federation chairperson Máire Ní Mhurchú.

Ms Ní Mhurchú said that the tourism committee hearing showed a great degree of understanding by Oireachtas members of the importance of short term letting to Ireland’s tourism economy, especially in rural Ireland.

“The ISCF welcomes that very much. There is a lot of development of Greenways and other rural tourism which is dependent on the developmentof a new type of accommodation - as provided by the short-term rental model.

“But the simple fact is that there is absolutely zero clarity on what impact the registration system will have on tourism operators. We were left today with a farcical situationwhere the Oireachtas is debating a registration enforcement measure, without knowing what rules it will enforce.

She added that the Department of Housing stated that Guidelines for Planners and STR Owners would be produced after and then possibly at the same time as the Registration for STR is approved by the Dail in late March 2023, or if the same regulations would apply to rural areas as well as urban or RPZ regions of the country.

“It was extremely worrying to watch even the most basic questions by TD’s and Senators as to the content of any planning rules either not being answered or given vague and unclear responses. There were no answers to legitimate questions as to what areas would be affected, what kind of accommodation would be permitted, how holiday homes, glamping, or granny flats would be treated etc.

“It seems to us that the committee and industry is expected to take it on good faith that concerns about rural Ireland will be addressed. This is not good enough and not how good policy is made. Failte Ireland seemed be quite relaxed about the possible loss of 130 thousand bed nights in a year when we have 28% of beds already removed from the tourism offering.

Ms Ní Mhurchú said that she very much supports the proposal by Senator Malcolm Byrne that the planning guidelines be brought before the committee before legislation is passed.

“This is the only way that policy makers, stakeholders and self-catering providers can know how tourism and tourism jobs will be impacted.

“Self-catering operators and small accommodation providers across the country are terrified about losing their livelihoods. They deserve better from our government,” she added.

 

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