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Ireland’s ghost hotels to be boarded up

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The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) plans to close non-performing “ghost hotels,” according to the latest reports.

NAMA, the agency established by the Irish government to handle the country’s toxic debts, is responsible for the loans on over 80 hotels in Ireland and 35 in the U.K.

Since its establishment there was some speculation that hotels could be turned into retirement or nursing homes. However, sources told “The Guardian” that this is not possible. "Hotel corridors aren't wide enough and there are enough nursing homes in the market,” the source said.

"They will heat them, insure them and bring in security to guard the buildings. They will mothball them, close the hotel but secure it. NAMA doesn’tt have the expertise to run hotels."

The government-run agency does not comment on any of its assets, and as a result the true future of Ireland’s ailing hotels hangs in the balance.

Last week Grant Thornton was appointed receiver to the Clare Inn and Breaffy House Resort in Co. Mayo, two hotels in the family run Lynch Hotel Group.

"I am happy that in our discussions with the bank (Bank of Scotland) and receiver we have secured a position where the properties will remain open and continue to trade," founder Michael Lynch said in a statement.

Speaking about the badly performing hotel sector in Ireland Paul Gallagher, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, said it was not an easy business.

"People thought hotels were an easy business. They have no idea the extent of the resources needed. You can't just open a hotel and expect it to just happen," he told “The Guardian.”

He added that if tourism levels were to suddenly increase, there would still be "a surplus of 7,000 rooms.”
 

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