GAA Keeping a Watchful Eye on Hayes Hotel

staff reporter

Reporter:

staff reporter

Deputy Michael Lowry has confirmed that the GAA are keeping a watchful eye on the progress of Hayes Hotel and has stated that the GAA are anxious to ensure that the birthplace of the GAA is protected and preserved going forward. The Independent T.D. has however cautioned that the GAA are not primarily in the business of operating hotels and may be more interested in engaging in a partnership with new owners of the hotel to promote the facility.

Deputy Michael Lowry has confirmed that the GAA are keeping a watchful eye on the progress of Hayes Hotel and has stated that the GAA are anxious to ensure that the birthplace of the GAA is protected and preserved going forward. The Independent T.D. has however cautioned that the GAA are not primarily in the business of operating hotels and may be more interested in engaging in a partnership with new owners of the hotel to promote the facility.

Deputy Lowry stated;“There has been considerable comment in the public arena in the past number of weeks with regards to the future of Hayes Hotel and whether this business should be taken over by the GAA given its rich history.”

“My primary concern with regards to Hayes Hotel is to ensure that the staff are looked after going forward and all their entitlements are met. A number of staff have been let go from the hotel over the past year. It is important that both these former staff and the current staff are looked after and are to the forefront in any discussions that take place.”

“We have to look at this in a realistic way. The unfortunately truth is that the Hotel ran into serious financial difficulties and a huge amount of money is owed to the hotel’s creditors, many of whom are local suppliers who cannot afford not to recover this money. The hotel is therefore in the hands of the receiver at the moment. I am engaging with the Receivers to stress the point that the staff who have given loyal service must be looked after properly.”

“I have been involved in GAA for a number of years and have numerous contacts and a track record with the GAA. Everyone involved in the GAA including the President, Management of GAA nationally, and the County board are very conscious of the history of the hotel, its heritage and cultural value. All of us in the GAA know how unique it is and the historic events that took place within its walls. The GAA is not in business of running hotels but does want to have an involvement and an oversight as to how this vital culture is protected going forward.”

“At present there are a number of private entities expressing an interest in buying the hotel. Obviously the receiver must now proceed to examine offers on the table with a view to selling hotel. The Hotel is in major need of refurbishment, it is a very old hotel that requires significant work. I simply do not think that the GAA has the capacity or time to purchase the hotel, to refurbish the hotel and run the hotel as a going concern. The running of a hotel is specialised business and professionalism and experience are required to ensure that Hayes hotel can return to its former glory. Running hotels is not the core business of the GAA and I would have concerns about their capability to restore the hotel going forward.”

“Any move made in regards to the Hotel must be viable and secure the future of the hotel going forwards. For the town of Thurles, it is hugely important that the hotel is reopened as going concern, as quickly as possible. With have serious problems in the town with regards to hotels, where previously we had three functioning hotels drawing visitors into the town, now, the Anner is the only one functioning properly. The Town has lost out due to its problems with hotels. The lack of accommodation is a serious issue in the commercial and business life of Thurles.”

“I think it is likely that a private investor will purchase hotel as a going concern at that stage and will at that stage avail of the co-operation and involvement of GAA. What is needed is a partnership between the GAA and new hotel owner who can then work together to promote the hotel and the birthplace of the GAA. I believe that an expert with experience in the hotel sector will be needed to help Hayes overcome its current difficulties.”

“There has also been some mis-information with regards to the actions of the GAA in investigating this issue. Tipperary County Board didn’t simply sent letter to Croke Park about the hotel going into receivership and being sold. Rather a comprehensive assessment and appraisal was carried out, outlining the pros and cons and asking management to keep watching developments in this field. I understand that the GAA are now in regular contact with receiver.”