Fianna Fáil councillor for Ratoath, Cllr. Deirdre Geraghty-Smith is calling for the government to designate 2022 as the year of ‘The Gathering’, once the country has successfully reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillor Geraghty-Smith told Meath Live, “Ireland is well known globally for its hearty social life, vibrant cultural scene and welcoming hospitality. Each of these areas has been devastated by Covid-19. Those working in the hospitality and arts sectors have been dealt a hammer blow by the pandemic, with many businesses forced to close for the majority of the last year due to public health measures. Indeed, many of these businesses will struggle to reopen.
“With the vaccination rollout due to be completed this year we can look forward to meeting with family and friends again, and attending social events and gatherings together. Ireland previously hosted ‘The Gathering’ in 2013 however such an initiative would take on new significance for us all after the experience of the pandemic.
“We know that the aviation sector has been on life-support for the last number of months, with the restrictions on international travel. As we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and with the vaccination programme being successfully rolled out,
I am calling on the government to designate 2022 the year of ‘The Gathering’, and to devise and support a national programme of arts and cultural activity celebrating togetherness. This initiative would be a vital shot in the arm for the tourism, arts and aviation sectors and would be a boost for local communities, by welcoming home Ireland’s diaspora, and inviting tourists to take advantage of the ability to travel and share in Ireland’s cultural scene. Meath would stand to benefit greatly from an influx of tourism, with its many cultural and historical amenities to offer tourists to Ireland’s Ancient East.
“The arts, tourism and hospitality sectors urgently need targeted supports to assist their recovery as we emerge from Covid-19. A national celebration of togetherness would have social and economic benefits particularly for these sectors, but also for the wider community,” she concluded.