Young people have saved PUP to take summer off, says hotelier

Many young people who would normally work in the hospitality industry during the summer are taking a break instead and living off their savings from the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP), a west Cork hotelier has claimed.

PJ McMahon, operations manager at the Schull Harbour Hotel, said it was a slow process hiring staff for this week’s reopening.

Mr McMahon, who has worked in the hotel industry since he was 16, said the sector had been struggling to hire staff long before Covid struck. But it had been especially difficult this summer with freedom finally on the cards for young people who have had a difficult year.

“A lot of them would have made enough money with the PUP payment over the winter,” he said. “They couldn’t spend it. There was nothing open. There was no nightlife there. So they made enough money that they don’t need to work for the summer.”

“They still aren’t able to spend it. They are not spending €100 a week in pubs or nightclubs. They are spending €20 on a bag of cans and sitting on a pier.

“These people have been locked up for the last six months. They want to embrace the situation where they are out at the weekend, out with their friends. I can understand it.

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