Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.28 24 Jun 2020


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Tourism vouchers for everyone in the country could be a way to help get tens of thousands of people in the sector back to work, according to Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty.

His party is proposing vouchers worth €200 per adult and €100 per child, which would have to be spent before the end of next year in tourism and hospitality.

He stressed the voucher couldn't be put behind a bar for a 'rake of pints' - but could be put towards hotel breaks or restaurant trips.

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Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Doherty said similar ideas have been implemented in other European countries and elsewhere around the world as economies start reopening after the coronavirus crisis.

He said: "It's an attempt to try to fill the void - the gap of the €3.5 billion the sector is going to lose in 2020, and indeed will lose further in 2021.

"It's a pre-loaded credit card, like a One4All. You go and register with your identity in the post office. You get your card, and you can load it either individually or for your families.

"It's an attempt to try to get many of the 120,000 people who are still unemployed back to work."

Deputy Doherty said the estimated cost of the measure would be €860 million.

However, he claimed it would cost €1 billion if the workers in the sector remained on the pandemic unemployment payment.

He said: "If we do not make this kind of investment in the tourism sector... jobs will be lost, and businesses will close down.

"VAT rates when we cut them for this sector cost €600 million - that's not where we need to be right now. It may be where we need to go next year, but at this point in time we need people spending."

Main image: File photo of Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty. Picture by: Liam McBurney/PA Archive/PA Images

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