Senator Fiona O’Loughlin calls for the fast tracking of visa’s for hospitality and food production workers

Kildare based Senator Fiona O’Loughlin questioned the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English on the government’s plans to solve the skills gap being experienced, especially in the hospitality and food production industries. The Kildare Senator called on the Tanaiste to fulfil his brief, and to intervene to ensure that an appropriate workforce is available to businesses in Kildare.

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin said, “Many businesses have faced such adversity over the last 18 months and many of them are fighting for their businesses very survival. Government subsidies have been forthcoming and have stopped the financial bleeding for many businesses, and the business owners’ owners that I speak to are very appreciative of the suite of financial supports that have been made available to them. But the government now need to reposition their focus and support businesses back to financial independence”

“We have businesses in South Kildare that are turning down work due to staff shortages, and after the 18 months they have faced, especially in the hospitality sector, that is just unacceptable”

“Many of our local businesses were lucky to be employing highly skilled professionals prior to the pandemic, many of whom happened not to be Irish citizens. As a result of covid, many returned home to their native countries at the height of the pandemic to be closer to loved ones. But now due to visa issues they are unable to come back”

Senator O’Loughlin concluded “The Tanaiste and his department must act, and they must intervene here. Without access to an adequate workforce, many businesses will never reach financial independence, and supporting businesses to stand on their own two feet must be governments priority. One aspect of that is ensuring that access is to prioritise visa’s for workers of identified skill gaps”