‘Complete nonsense’: hotel manager says Government ‘obsessed’ with hospitality industry

Hotel Doolin says it will not be complying with new requirement to make record of all meals ordered

Hotel Doolin, Co Clare. Photograph: Facebook

Hotel Doolin, Co Clare. Photograph: Facebook

 

A Co Clare hotel manager has said the Government is “obsessed” with the hospitality industry and described the latest rules requiring records of the meals ordered as “nonsense”.

The new rules, which came into effect on Thursday, will require restaurants and pubs serving food to make a record of all meals ordered. They must be able to make the records available to a member of An Garda Síochána for up to 28 days after the meal.

The Government is facing a furious backlash from publicans and restaurants over the new regulations . Both the Restaurants Association of Ireland and Licensed Vintners Association have written to the Data Protection Commissioner seeking a view on the new requirements, while Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry condemned what he described as “Stasi” guidelines.

Donal Minihan, general manager of Hotel Doolin, told the Claire Byrne Show on RTÉ Radio One there had been “no consultation, no communication, no working with us, no advance notice”.

“It’s complete nonsense, we all want to follow the guidelines and do our best to keep people safe – this Government seems to be obsessed with the hospitality industry as if we’re the root cause of Covid, and we’re not,” he said.

“It feels at the moment as if there’s somebody in an office up in Dublin just making up rules for the craic. There’s been no consultation, no communication, no working with us, no advance notice, I found out about this new regulation last night on Facebook. ”

Mr Minihan said there was utter confusion in the industry with Government departments contradicting each other, giving contradictory advice, and everybody interpreting the guidelines differently.

“So it’s like living at the moment in some sort of Kafkaesque state.

“I think the Government needs to trust us, and to trust our customers. We’ve the guards checking in with us every night; they come in, they check our bookings for our contact tracing, we’ve absolutely no problem doing that. They look around, they see people sitting down at the table, eating food, we all want to do what is right.

“We’re all worried about Covid, but we’re also all worried about keeping our businesses open. We’re worried about surviving the winter,” Mr Minihan said. “I’m worried about 100 jobs here in Hotel Doolin,” he added.

He said there was a lot of paperwork in recording all meals, and in recording everybody’s details, “and I presume keeping the receipt from the till and filing it. But there’s also the issue of data protection. Nobody consulted anybody on data protection.”

“This is a step too far, I don’t see the relevance of what people have to eat. I don’t think this will help, it is an unnecessary burden. I think it’s the straw that will break the camel’s back.”

On its Facebook page, the hotel said it would not be abiding by the new guidelines. A post last night said: “Dear Minister Donnelly, Hotel Doolin will not be recording what our customers have to eat for their breakfast, lunch and dinner as we working people have enough to be doing trying our best to keep our business open and everybody safe without following nonsensical laws. You, on the other hand, obviously have plenty of time on your hands to be coming up with crap like this so I would suggest maybe you go do a day’s work experience in a meat factory or have a sleepover in a direct provision centre and see how you like it”.