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Failte Ireland chair quits 'with regret' over family trip to Italy

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Resigned: Michael Cawley

Resigned: Michael Cawley

Resigned: Michael Cawley

The chairman of tourism promotion body Failte Ireland has resigned after holidaying in Italy, despite government advice for citizens to take a staycation.

Michael Cawley quit within hours of his trip being reported in the media on Saturday.

The news came as the Republic yesterday reported 200 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, the highest daily rise since the start of May.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "This is the largest number of cases in a single day since the beginning of May. We now have multiple clusters with secondary spread of disease and rising numbers of cases in many parts of the country.

"This is deeply concerning."

While Italy is on the Republic's official green list for safe travel, the Irish Government continues to urge people to holiday at home this summer.

Mr Cawley said he had tendered his resignation to Tourism Minister Catherine Martin with "great regret".

"As has been reported in the media this morning, I am on a pre-arranged family holiday in Italy, which is on the government green list," he said.

"As I have no wish to allow this issue to become a distraction from the important work of Failte Ireland in rebuilding the Irish tourism industry, I have decided after six years in the position to step down."

Ms Martin said she was disappointed to learn of Mr Cawley's holiday destination.

She said: "While Italy is on the green list, meaning that people who return from there do not have to restrict their movements, the government has called on people to avoid all non-essential travel.

"Many of our citizens and residents have followed this guidance at some personal and financial cost to themselves. I was disappointed to learn that the chair of Failte Ireland was holidaying in Italy.

"I rang Mr Cawley this morning and he has offered his resignation, which I have accepted."

Belfast Telegraph