Darren Madden

  • The increase in the VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sectors from 9% to 13.5% is very disappointing, according to the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation.

    It's been described as a serious blow to the tourism industry, particularly in rural Ireland, as businesses outside of Dublin will be hardest hit.

    The 9% VAT rate was introduced in 2011, but is being raised now to pay for other social demands.

    Darren Madden, manager of the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport, is chairman of the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation and he's calling on the Finance Minister to delay the increase in VAT until after next Summer.

  • Fears over the spread of coronavirus have already hit some major sporting fixtures, and St Patrick's Day parades across the country are also being cancelled.

    Businesses in towns and villages across the region will be hit as a result of the cancellations, while the hotel industry is beginning to feel the pinch.

    Darren Madden of the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport is chairman of the Mayo branch of the Irish Hotels Federation.

    He says the number of international tourists will be down this year, due to Covid 19.

    However, he says hotels can offer good value to Irish customers to enjoy "staycations".

    Mr Madden says hotels have introduced the necessary practices during the current crisis, and says it's important that hotels can keep their staff employed during this uncertain time, so they can continue to deliver a quality service once this coronavirus crisis is over.