Tourism has been put to the back of the pack under the newly formed Irish government, with Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin appointed as Minister for the newly formed department of the Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

The tourism portfolio was placed with in five other competing portfolios by new Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

While announcing the appointment, the Taoiseach said: “A free, independent and professional media is vital for our democracy. We have set out our commitment to helping not just our public service media, but our professional media as a whole to be able to have a sustainable future.

“Deputy Catherine Martin will lead our work on this as a matter of urgency. She will also lead the critical work of helping to restart and strengthen key elements of what makes us unique as a nation – our arts, our teanga náisiúnta, our sports, and our tourism.”

The portfolio has been described as a jumble drawer and is seen as potentially unworkable, and has raised serious concerns as to why economically critical areas such as tourism, sports, and the arts, have all been put under one minister.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has expressed its deep disappointment at the lack of a dedicated government department with sole responsibility for tourism.

IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane called on the Government to put tourism at the top of its economic agenda, saying: “We are shocked and deeply disappointed that tourism has been placed in a six- faceted portfolio and not part of an economic and dedicated tourism ministry. We would have expected tourism to have been included at least within an economic or business portfolio or had its own ministry, instead of being part of a multifaceted portfolio. This is a time when commitment to tourism should have been strengthened and not diluted.”

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