The owner of a Cork café has written an open letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin highlighting the concerns of those in the hospitality sector as the country faces an extended lockdown.
Richard Jacob of Idaho café in the city centre, who has had to remain closed for about nine months of the last year said that the sector does not expect dynamism from the Taoiseach, “just leadership”.
“There are 480,000 people unemployed because of this pandemic, 150,000 of those, in hospitality.
“We understand that we are closed to keep our fellow citizens safe, we closed before we were directed to last year. We understand the seriousness of this pandemic. We understand the terrible cost to so many. We understand,” he said.
He said, however, that he does not understand “why 5,600 people flew into Ireland from countries on Covid warning lists last month” or why the Government “still haven’t worked out a quarantine plan”.
Mr Jacob said that there are nearly half a million people who remain out of work across the country and called on Mr Martin to get ministers and advisors together to “form a cogent plan, go on national television, look us in the eye and tell us what it is and why we are doing it”.
He called for the Taoiseach to fix the “communication shambles” and not to allow managers, chefs and floor staff “find out through leaks and whispers to journalists that they are now part of the long term unemployed”.
“Do not pretend to understand what it’s like to find that the business you built, the career that you chose, the future that you planned, are worthless in the eyes of our Government. Do not pretend, lead,” he said.