NEW IHF CHAIR: Bernadette Randles from The Dromhall Hotel, Killarney accepts the Chair of Office from Niamh O’Shea (outgoing), after she was elected Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation. Photo: Don MacMonagle

By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Bernadette Randles of Randles Hotels has this week been appointed Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF).
Other appointments at this week’s branch AGM include Emer Corridan of Cahernane House who has been appointed Vice-Chairperson, Niamh O’Shea Treasurer, and Padraig McGillicuddy of Ballygarry House Hotel and Spa, Tralee will assume the position of PRO.
It is a very proud moment for Bernadette Randles given her family’s connection to the hospitality industry in Kerry. The Randles family operate the Dromhall Hotel and the Randles Court Hotel on the Muckross Road.
With Brexit looming and the higher rate of VAT imposed on the sector since last year’s budget, she accepts she has rocky waters to navigate.
“I am delighted,” she said.
“Our family have been engrained in tourism for a long time and it’s an honour for me to take on the role,” she said. “There are always challenges and triumphs. The industry has been riding the crest of a wave for the past few years but there are stormy seas ahead and we need to navigate them. We need to be heard at national level on key issues and we have always been a strong voice in Dublin and we will continue lobby issues in our industry. A key priority is to ensure our industry remains at the heart of Government policy particularly in relation to investment in marketing and product development, attracting more visitors to the region in off peak and tackling the high cost of doing business in Ireland.”

While Brexit is a major concern for every industry in Ireland, there are many more issues directly connected to the hotel industry she hopes to address.

“The obvious issues are Brexit, economic uncertainty and a slowdown in European growth. We also face a recruitment challenge and we are going to work closely with IT Tralee and the schools to encourage children to pursue careers in hospitality. There are enormous career opportunities available in our industry and this something we are keen to get across to young people in particular considering their career options.”

She added that if she could be Taoiseach for a day she would bring the VAT rate back to nine percent.

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