Friday 29 August 2008

Faulty Ireland - fudging the B&B issue?

Another challenge has been made to Faulty Ireland's laissez-faire philosophy, this time from the Town and Country Homes Association, which represents many of Ireland's Bed and Breakfast operators.

The Association has drawn attention to the voluntary nature of registration of B&Bs with FI, which means, in effect, that tourists have no way of being sure a B&B will deliver a good-quality stay. Of course tourists can opt to stay in a B&B which happens to be registered, but more often than not a visitor to our shores will have to take pot luck.

At a time when there is a real squeeze on the tourist industry, which has hit B&Bs particularly hard, it boggles belief that most B&Bs still do not have to register with the national tourism authority, are not graded for quality and are not regulated on prices.

FI have said they are preparing an "action plan" for the sector. Quite. What are the odds that this will be another piece of fudge, full of half-measures and short-termist compromises?

Monday 25 August 2008

Mint man goes from strength to strength!

Dylan McGrath of Ranelagh's prestigious Mint restaurant has been crowned "Chef of the year" in Food and Wine's Irish restaurant awards for 2008. No stopping the man - just as there seems to be no stopping Ryanair's Michael O'Leary, and there lies a thought! O'Leary is his industry's rude boy, and people don't seem to hold it against him.

I was fortunate to take a friend out to Mint about 18 months ago. My companion and I ate like princes - until 9.30 or so. That we had outstayed our welcome became clear at that time, because not only was the bill brought to me unasked for, but so were our coats! I was too taken aback to protest properly then and there, but when I wrote to Mint a few days later, did I get an apology? Divil a bit of it! The letter back only apologised, grudgingly, for not making it clear to us earlier that they, to use that horrible celtic tiger phrase, "needed the table back" at 9.30. Well fair enough pal- they have it back, and as far as I and my companion are concerned they can keep it!