McGrath: Fáilte Ireland killing the spirit of our nation

Photo courtesy of Houses of the Oireachtas

The guidelines for the reopening of the hospitality sector have come under fire from a Tipperary TD who questioned what Fáilte Ireland had against the arts industry.

Their long Recovery and Resilience Guidelines for the sector were revealed yesterday with a ban on live or loud music.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday Deputy Mattie McGrath said this goes against our supposed pride in our culture, song and dance.

The independent TD called on Fáilte Ireland to focus on attracting tourists to Ireland and let decisions on Covid to people who know what they’re doing.

“Are we going to have The Lonesome Boatman playing on pipe music in the bars or Biddy Early’s Silent Laments or the music of the Famine Ship?”

“What have ye got against the arts industry? The music, the song, the rinceoirí – this is our heritage, this is what we’re of, this is our very being.”

“Are ye trying to kill the spirit of our nation? What’s going on? I mean Fáilte Ireland should be getting people back into this country on our national airline and let decisions like this be done by Government. They don’t know anything about this area here. Let them do what they’re good at and let the people live again and play and dance and sing and love each other.”

In reply Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the decision was being taken for a very good reason and expressed surprise that Deputy McGrath apparently wasn’t aware of it.

“I can totally appreciate that this was very disappointing news for people who work in the live music sector and I can absolutely guarantee that Fáilte Ireland – our national tourism body who I worked with closely for years – are big supporters of Irish music and Irish arts.”

“The reason for it though deputy – and you should know this – if you don’t know the reason for it is one of public health that if there is loud music or live music people will speak louder and they will shout.”