Closure of Heffernan’s shocks travel agency industry and customers

Closure of Heffernan’s shocks travel agency industry and customers
Heffernan's Shipping and Tourist Agency Ltd., t/a Heffernan's Travel and Easy Holiday, ceased to trade, Pembroke House, Pembroke Street, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE travel industry in Cork is shocked at the news that Heffernan’s Travel has shut after close to a century in business, writes Gráinne McGuinness.

In a notice posted on the front of its premises on Pembroke Street, and on social media, the company said it had ceased to trade with immediate effect.

The notice advised customers with bookings to contact their airline, ferry company, or travel provider to “establish the status of their booking and make alternative arrangements, if necessary”.

It is understood there were 15 people employed at the travel agency, which offered a wide selection of holiday options, including tours, weddings abroad, and honeymoons.

On social media, many former customers expressed their surprise and disappointment and wished staff well for the future.

Nobody from the company was available for comment and a representative of the Commission for Aviation Regulation said the commission was working to establish if there were customers currently abroad affected by the closure.

“Heffernan’s Shipping & Tourist Agency Ltd, trading as Heffernan’s Travel and Easy Travel, is unable to fulfil its obligations to its customers and the Commission for Aviation Regulation has withdrawn its travel agent licence,” it said in a statement.

“The Commission operates a consumer-protection scheme and, if you find you are out of pocket, you may be covered by this scheme. We are currently consulting with the travel agency to see how many passengers are affected.”

Pat Dawson, the chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association, said the industry has been rocked by the closure of what was an “institution” in the sector.

“Heffernan’s was a shining light in the industry and this has come as a shock to us all,” said Mr Dawson.

“Consumers can take heart from the fact that they will be covered by the bond. And I know Heffernan’s will work to ensure that their customers will be looked after.”

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