Mac Lochlainn raises the need for financial supports for Donegal tourism and retail sector with Minister Heather Humphreys

Donegal Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has raised the need for financial supports for Donegal’s tourism and retail sectors due to the impact of Brexit with the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.

Minister Humphreys was appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation to outline the government’s supports for businesses in the context of Brexit. Senator Mac Lochlainn serves on this committee as his party’s Seanad Spokesperson on the portfolio.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said:

“The impact of Brexit has already been profound for Donegal’s tourism and retail sector with a big drop in cross border trade and from the British tourism market.

Brexit has also led to a delay in investment plans across the county that is really hurting our local economy. I challenged Minister Humphreys on what supports her government has provided or will provide to these struggling businesses”.

“One area that has caused real anger has been the same application of VAT increases across the entire State. There is no comparison between a hotel in Donegal and a hotel in Dublin city or indeed with restaurants or other businesses, yet they are treated the same from a taxation perspective. It is surely not beyond the wit of man or woman to find a solution to this unfair policy or to reimburse the Donegal businesses in some way.

Donegal businesses are also under pressure from commercial rates and insurance increases. While I welcome confirmation that Donegal businesses will finally see a rates review, the truth is that some businesses will gain, and some will lose from this review.

The Minister lives in and represents a border community herself, so she should know better than most the impact of Brexit on similar border communities in Donegal. While she had sympathetic words in response to my representations at the committee, we need to see real actions and practical financial supports being rolled out as soon as possible”.