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The Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare Alamy Stock Photo
rural ireland

New laws cracking down on short-term lets pose threat to rural tourism, govt warned

In a letter to Taoiseach Simon Harris, tourism-reliant associations have raised concerns over the bill.

A NUMBER OF tourism reliant associations have raised concerns that the short-term letting bill will be detrimental to rural tourism. 

The Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill is aimed at curbing the short-term letting. The bill would introduce a register for short-term lets, which is expected to bring thousands of properties back to the market. 

Under the current draft of the bill, properties advertised for short-term letting via online platforms, such as Airbnb, would be obliged to have a valid registration number with Fáilte Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland, a state body, was established to support the development and promotion of tourism within the Republic of Ireland.

Under the bill as it currently stands, any host offering accommodation for periods of up to and including 21 nights will need to be registered. Property owners will have to register via an online portal, input their details and confirm they have planning permission, where applicable.

Before advertising properties, booking platforms will be obliged to only advertise properties with a valid Fáilte Ireland registration number.

In a letter to Taoiseach Simon Harris, representatives for the five associations urged Harris to “tread carefully and ensure that the bill and associated legislation safeguards rural tourism”.

The Government has previously said that it estimates the register will move 10,700 self-catering and short term holiday letting properties to the long term rental market, with the majority in rural Ireland. Counties along the Wild Atlantic Way, including Kerry, Galway and Cork will be most impacted by the loss of tourism accommodation, according to the associations.

The bill is not ready for Cabinet yet, but is expected to be brought before ministers soon.

It is understood the government is aware of concerns within the sectors, and these are being addressed by the Department of Housing, who have responsibility for the planning guidelines for this new measure.

The letter was signed by representatives for Vinters Federation of Ireland, Restaurant Association of Ireland, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism, and Irish Self-Catering Federation.

The group cited estimated figures provided to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport & Media by Fáilte Ireland.

The figures, estimated based on four of the largest online booking systems, show that Kerry will lose 1,858 short-term tourism accommodation units, Galway 1,459 and Cork 1,313. In total, counties along the Wild Atlantic Way will lose over 6,500 properties, more than 60% of the total targeted by Government, according to this data.


The letter states that the associations welcome the introduction of a register for self-catering homes and short-term holiday lettings across the country. They stated that their concerns came from the introduction of the register “without clearly stating who can and cannot be on it”.

In the letter, the representatives said that this risks causing “untold damage” to rural Ireland by closing down self-catering homes and short-term holiday lets in rural communities and tourism-reliant towns across Ireland.

CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, emphasised the importance of tourism in rural Ireland.

It is vital that holiday homes and short-term tourism rentals are protected in regional Ireland. They form a key part of the industry and bring economic activity to all parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, often where there are no hotels or guesthouses.”

The group of associations asked that there are “clear and sensible” planning guidelines brought in , and a different approach for existing operators. 

They further said that separately to hotels, self-catering homes and holiday homes are present in smaller villages and towns that would not previously have benefitted from tourism, had these forms of accommodation not been offered.

The Government has previously said that they intend for the bill to be passed before the Oireachtas summer recess.

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