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Government’s staycation rebate a ‘ridiculous con job’, says Deputy Munster

Imelda Munster
Sinn Féin's Imelda Munster addresses the media in her role as the party's Transport spokesperson. Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons License.

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Imelda Munster has lashed out at the Government over reports their much talked about ‘staycation’ subsidy will not come into effect until after the summer.

The party’s spokesperson for Tourism labelled the proposed rebate plans “a con job.”  Her comments come after the Irish Independent reported on Tuesday that the Government’s staycation subsidy is not expected to be introduced until September, after the traditional peak holiday and when school children will be back in the classroom – meaning most families and persons planning a domestic holiday will not be able to avail of the scheme.

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The tax rebate on hotels and restaurant bills was put forward by the government as a way of boosting the tourism sector in the country after months of inactivity and losses.

“Today we learned that the government’s plan is only valid from September. This is ridiculous as obviously families will be taking holidays in July and August,” Deputy Munster said. “Children have been off school for six months [this] year, and we hope that they will be returning to school in September. Families won’t be in a position to take holidays then.

“This just shows how out of touch the government is – either that or they are deliberately introducing measures they know people won’t be able to avail of.”

Deputy Munster added that the scheme only really helps those people who planned on taking a holiday anyway – and not those who cannot afford to take a break. She said Sinn Féin’s plan to give vouchers to every adult and child in the country would help towards the cost of a break – and subsequently increase spending in the tourism sector.

“The scheme is already problematic in that the tax rebate model will exclude those with less money to spend who need a cash incentive the most. Those who can already afford a holiday and intended to take one anyway will be getting rewarded for that under this plan. Sinn Féin’s staycation voucher plan would give €200 to every adult and €100 to every child to ensure that everyone can avail of a helping hand to enjoy a holiday this year.

“The government’s plan is problematic in terms of who will benefit, and the latest reports suggest that very few people indeed will be able to avail of this plan. The government needs to rethink this,” Munster added. “Our plan would put money directly into the pockets of people who would then put that money into tills across the state in order to give a much-needed boost to the sector. Our plan is simple, effective and fully costed.”

The scheme was first put on the table last month as part of their proposal for an economic stimulus plan for the tourism and hospitality sectors. It is estimated such voucher rollout would cost €860 million. The vouchers would take the form of smartcards that could be collected from post offices and Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection offices around the country.

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