Coach Operators Plea For State Assistance

01 Jul 2020 | 11.00 am

Coach Operators Plea For State Assistance

AV specialist Pearl Group calls in liquidator

01 Jul 2020 | 11.00 am

The Coach Tourism and Transport Council and the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers have joined the growing list of business sectors seeking state handouts to aid recovery from lockdown.

The private bus and coach industry body CTTC wants a subsidy of 17% for each company based on its self-certified turnover for 2019, a further €140m for commercial services to maintain services at pre-Covid levels, together with retention of the wage subsidy scheme until 2021 or when turnover returns to 75%, among other measures.

AIPCO wants funding for Fáilte Ireland, an extension of the wage subsidy scheme until March 2021 and a resilience and hardship grant to help companies to trade through the crisis.

CTTC says there are 1,72o coach operators in Ireland which used to carry c.75 million passengers each year and providing 11,460 jobs.  A survey conducted for the organisation shows that turnover has declined 95% and that without significant state assistance many operators will not survive.

Chairman John Halpenny (pictured) said: “The bus and coach sector in Ireland is facing an existential crisis, with operators’ revenues collapsing, members cashflow abruptly cut off, reserves depleted and the prospect of insolvency facing many. 

“Our concerns are further compounded by the fact that public confidence is badly shaken by the pandemic so it will take some period of time before we see a degree of normality resume. It appears certain that without significant assistance and intervention from government, many operators will simply not survive.”

Conference  Woes

AIPCO said it wants an urgent meeting with the enterprise minister Leo Varadkar and tourism minister Catherine Martin. It says the  sector is on the verge of collapse following the cancellation of almost every international conference in Ireland between now and next summer.

Chairman Ronan Flood said: “Event organisers face the real prospect of no income for 18 months. When the pandemic does eventually end we need these companies to hit the ground running to bring international conferences back to Ireland.  The industry needs to be supported now to ensure Ireland can maintain its position as a leading showcase destination for these important events, and support as many jobs as possible in the interim.”

AIPCO says its members organise an average of 96 conferences per annum which are attended by c.32,000 delegates from across the world. AIPCO members say they face substantial financial challenges or company closures due to no revenue being delivered into their business.

In a sign of the times in the sector, Dublin AV specialist Pearl Production Services Ltd, trading as Pearl Group, has called in liquidator Tom Murray of Friel Stafford.

The company booked a pre-depreciation profit of €255,000 in the year to August 2018, and four directors shared €400,000 in remuneration. Total liabilities amounted to €345,000 in August 2008, of which trade creditors were €170,000. Net worth at period end was €550,000, of which €96,000 was cash.

 

 

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