The huge hike in accommodation prices for St. Patrick’s weekend in Dublin have been slammed by a government minister.
One guesthouse in Dublin city center was reported to be quoting a base price of €2,430 for a private room on St. Patrick’s Day, with an extra €70 for each person up to a maximum of 14 in bunk beds. The same room is available for a basic €442 two weeks later on March 31.
Another guesthouse operated by the same company, City Centre Skyline, listed basic accommodation in one room on Saturday, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, at €2,160 with an extra €70 for every additional person who books into the room as part of the same booking, with a maximum of 10 people.
Both accommodations now appear as “unavailable” on those dates after being contacted by The Sunday Times for comment.
Zanzibar Locke, an apartment hotel where accommodation also includes a private kitchen and bathroom, listed a charge for a large double bedroom for one night on Friday at €1,234.
The Shelbourne Hotel is charging €1,593 for one person to stay in its king suite bedroom on St. Patrick’s Day, which is usually priced between €500 and €800 on a normal Friday night. The hotel declined to comment when contacted.
Niall Collins, the minister of state for higher education, condemned the price hikes by accommodation providers. “The justification being offered by the hotel industry that it’s about supply and demand just simply rings hollow,” he said.
Collins slammed the eye-watering price gouging as a “slap in the face to government” after extending the lower VAT rate.
The VAT rate in the hospitality industry was reduced from 13.5 percent to nine percent during the cost of living crisis. It was due to return to 13.5 percent at the end of last month, but the government did a u-turn and extended it for another six months after extensive lobbying by the hospitality industry.
Failte Ireland said it had consistently raised the issue of price gouging with the tourism industry and had encouraged businesses to be “mindful of not just the revenue for today, but our reputation for tomorrow.”
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, chief of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, said that some of the prices for St. Patrick’s Day accommodation were “outlandish.”
He said, “It’s completely excessive and I don’t think the punter should buy that service, but I think the vast majority of tourism and hospitality providers do charge fair prices.”
*This column first appeared in the March 15 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.