Dalata chief warns against raising the minimum wage

Argues the hotel group would be forced to move business to UK...

The head of Ireland’s biggest hotel group has warned against an increase in the Irish minimum wage.

Pat McCann told the Irish Independent that the proposed 25% increase could divert investment to the UK.

McCann said having to pay workers €11.50 an hour would have a knock-on effect across the hotel group, and affect future investment decisions.

A report over the weekend suggested that the Low Pay Commission could back raising the current minimum wage of €9.15 per hour to €11.50.

The LPC is currently preparing a recommendation for Government. While unions are supporting the move, businesses are concerned it will affect their operations, as well as the country’s competitiveness in general.

Ireland's current minimum wage is the second-highest in the EU, behind Luxembourg.

McCann told the Irish Independent:

"Everyone would love to pay more, but that becomes very difficult when you consider that it would come on top of all the other costs...

"The reality is that you have a responsibility when you have to invest other people’s money."

Dalata announced its plans to build a €26m hotel on Dublin’s Kevin Street last month. It also paid €10m to buy a partially-completed Cork hotel.

The group is planning to open two or three more hotel in Britain in late 2018, with another three or four to follow in 2019.