The Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC) Executive held a positive meeting with Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, to seek additional support for sector.
Last Friday in Urlingford, County Kilkenny, Executive Committee members of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC), the representative body for private bus and coach operators, met with the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Michael McGrath TD to seek additional support for the sector.
Since March, the private bus and coach sector has been brought to a virtual standstill as tourism came to a halt.
Attending the meeting was Deputy Chair of the CTTC, Willie Martin, Martins Coaches (Limerick); JJ Kavanagh of JJ Kavanagh & Sons and Caoimhe Moloney of Piece Kavanagh Coaches (both from Urlingford, County Kilkenny), while Minister Michael McGrath was accompanied by local representative and Tipperary TD, Jackie Cahill.
Items discussed included the delivery of supports under a number of funding streams that the CTTC has stringently advocated for and lobbied Government on since COVID-19 began. The CTTC clearly conveyed the urgency in which funding must be made immediately available to operators under an number of areas:
- the NTA PSO Scheme (€140m) and the need to expand its remit to include direct services,
- the Business Continuity Fund for Coach Tourism (€10m) and
- the €11.3m fund announced under the Government’s back to school plans. The CTTC also called on the Minister to allow private school run operators to avail of this scheme.
The CTTC Executive also used the opportunity to discuss challenges around VAT, particularly in a post-Brexit environment which will adversely impact operators in the Republic, as is the need for further extension of loan moratoria in order to retain rolling stock in the sector which will help Ireland’s transport need into the future. They also called for extending current Government policy around the tax credit or rebate on holiday spend to apply to the coach tour sector.
Minister McGrath acknowledged the immense challenges confronting the sector and recognised the crucial role it plays in moving Ireland and generating tourism numbers. He committed to helping resolve the issues impacting operators and the CTTC is continuing further dialogue with the Minister for the purposes of securing extra support in Budget 2021 due to be announced in October.
It was a positive engagement with a key Government decision-maker in the crucial portfolio of finance and the CTTC is committed to continuing to influence in a structured and effective way in order to acquire support for the sector.
Pictured above: Caoimhe Maloney, Pierce Kavanagh, Willie Martin, Minister McGrath, JJ Kavanagh and Jackie Cahill.