Sinn Féin is ‘absolutely not’ opposed to building more hotels in Dublin and other cities, Pearse Doherty has told Newstalk Breakfast.
The Sinn Féin finance spokesperson was speaking after he criticised the ‘ridiculous’ price gouging in Irish hotels this summer – with prices in many hotels currently hovering at around €500 per night.
Deputy Doherty noted that it is now cheaper to travel from Donegal to Rome to see Bruce Springsteen than it is to see the US rocker in Dublin.
He said a Sligo man who called in to Ocean FM during the week had priced a four-day trip to the Italian capital including tickets, flights and accommodation at €400 – some €200 les than it would cost him for one night in Dublin.
“That’s an example of the price gouging in the hotel sector,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“What is going on in the hotel sector in Dublin is really, really damaging to our reputation and it will have a big impact on hospitality,” he said.
“Not just on tourism, not just on the hotel sector – a lot of people are dependent on tourists coming in.”
Questioned on Sinn Féin’s previous opposition to the construction of more hotels in Dublin, he said: “I don’t know of anyone opposing hotels”.
“There is proper planning permission there for a process in terms of hotels,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the issue at all.”
Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has previously warned that the Government has “delivered little of the right type of accommodation” noting that “what we have instead is build-to-rent student accommodation and hotels”.
Deputy Doherty said there is “absolutely not” an ideological opposition to hotels in his party.
“Not at all,” he said. “Of course the tourism product is absolutely hugely important to Ireland.
“What Eoin Ó Broin is talking about there in particular in terms of build to rent is apartments being built by funds in the main who are charging, if you want to buy those apartments, about €500,000 or €600,000
“What Eoin is saying is that in communities like Dublin we need to be building affordable, cost-rental housing so people can afford to live in their local communities.”
Deputy Doherty said he is calling on the Government to call an urgent meeting with hotel industry bodies to warn them that “this type of price gouging cannot go on”.
“At the end of the day, let’s not in any way absolve the hotel industry from what is happening,” he said.
“You should not be charging €600 for a room in the city a year away. That’s just ridiculous. There’s no excuse for that.”
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