Airbnb 'loophole' is allowing for 'binge parties' in rural Ireland - Cork Senator


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.28 16 Feb 2021


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A Cork Senator has said the rental platform Airbnb should be taken offline while Ireland is in level five restrictions.

Senator Tim Lombard has called on the Government to introduce legislation to restrict the renting out of properties across the country.

He told Lunchtime Live people are travelling to properties in rural locations for weekend parties.

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"It's a frustration, I think there's been so much done by Irish society and by Irish people to make sure we actually abide by the level five restrictions.

"But in my part of the world I've seen an unusual trend emerge in the last few weeks."

He claimed properties were being rented out for weekends "where you have binge parties coming down, coming to rural and scenic areas."

He cited an example two weeks ago in Kinsale, which saw seven people from different households travel from Cork city and rent a house "literally having a party there for the weekend".

"That is the kind of scenario we're having in some parts of Ireland".

'Clamp down'

He said over 200 properties alone in Cork are still open for rent on the Airbnb patform.

"The majority of Airbnb [listings] are for actual holiday accommodations or breaks, they're not for people who actually go physically out working.

"So I think there's a loophole here that we just need to clamp down on".

"The general public have done so much to abide by level five restrictions, we need to make sure that the unfortunate few that aren't need to be curtailed".

He said his constituents have complained to him about "numerous cars" turning up at Airbnb properties at weekends.

"The knock-on effect is nothing more than drink parties happening there, and that's what the constituents are telling me on the ground".

"There is no checks and balances when it comes to the Airbnb website, as far as I can see.

"And I am deeply concerned about this kind of 'break away' from the level five.

"I realise people are being restricted, I realise people are getting frustrated - but I don't see any logical reason why people need to go away for a weekend for work purposes to rural or to scenic locations in west Cork on a weekend night.

"That makes no sense to me".

Senator Lombard said he has contacted Cork County Council, which is the regulatory body for Airbnb inside rent pressure zones.

"They stated to me they don't have a full list of Airbnb properties in Cork.

"It's that lack of joined-up thinking of able to regulate the Airbnb network is having a major impact on people, and the people that are being really affected are the people that are doing the right thing".

In response, Airbnb said it is false to suggest that listings on their site are intended solely for leisure, and that there are legitimate reasons for travel during level five.

It added that parties are banned on Airbnb and they take 'swift and robust action' against those who breach their strict policies.

But the firm said it has not had specific issues brought to its attention to investigate.

Airbnb 'loophole' is allowing for 'binge parties' in rural Ireland - Cork Senator

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Main image: Airbnb's logo can be seen on different screens in Berlin, Germany in 2018. Picture by: Jens Kalaene/DPA/PA Images

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Airbnb Binge Parties Cork Senator Level Five Restrictions Rural Ireland Tim Lombard

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