16 Aug 2022

Group which represents 50 hospitality businesses in Derry: “By all means we must help our health services, but the economic catastrophe that our government is blindly allowing to happen through indecision is shameful.”

No decision yet from Stormont on Covid restrictions

Revealed: Kildare pubs second most crowded in Ireland

A group which represents 50 hospitality businesses in Derry has described the current indecision at Stormont as 'shameful'.

The Northern Ireland Executive will meet again today in another attempt to resolve differences over Covid-19 restrictions.

Talks broke up on last night without agreement over restrictions for hospitality and small businesses.

Much of Northern Ireland's economy was placed under tight measures on October 16.

They are due to expire at midnight tonight but, given the lack of a decision from Stormont, businesses remain in limbo.

The Legenderry Food Network, which represents 50 businesses in Derry, said it is 'disappointed and let down' by the 'continued intransigence of decision makers'.

“This ongoing politicking, debate and slow pace of action is unacceptable - our politicians are playing with peoples’ lives and livelihoods in the middle of a pandemic, and the lack of certainty, engagement and leadership is compounding the stresses of our companies, our supply chains and our customers,” said a spokesperson for the group.

“Our elected politicians should be working on behalf of their constituents – by not working for us they are harming us. We need our government to do their jobs so that we can do ours.

“Our members, who are now at the brink of finishing a 6-week localised lockdown- longer than the rest of Northern Ireland- are concerned about the slow roll out of financial support offered, the lack of strategic planning and clarity on decision making.

“We are aware of the massive sacrifices we as society need to make to address this pandemic, but as businesses we have responsibilities to our staff, customers and suppliers and the lack of clarity is putting these relationships, our businesses and the development of the hospitality industry throughout Northern Ireland at jeopardy.

“All we ask for is clarity, sufficient supports and a clear roadmap and timeline for reopening our services in a timely manner.

“Without this- we will be faced with redundancies, business closures, and more economic hardship to a region already faced with massive economic challenges.”

The Legenderry Food Network said the businesses they represent employ around 1,000 people.

“We comprise brewers, food producers, bars, restaurants, hotels and retail – supporting local, independent foodie businesses from production to point of sale.

“These businesses are essential to creating the Legenderry atmosphere which has helped grow the tourism market in the city and region- without these key businesses, the city would not be able to provide the vibrancy and excitement that our large scale events such as Derry Halloween, the Jazz Festival and the Foyle Maritime Festival bring to the area.

“In order to get through this health crisis- we have to take action.

“Our region was the first to voluntarily close down, and upon reopening traders undertook huge costs to ensure as safe as a space for customers.

“We have led so far on this, but we’re asking for responsible and incisive action from our political leaders to ensure that we are supported.

“By all means we must help our health services, but the economic catastrophe that our government is blindly allowing to happen through indecision is shameful.”

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