The tourism industry will take years to recover as a result of the impact of the foot and mouth crisis.

According to Bord Fáilte, it will take years for the tourist industry to recover from the damage caused by the foot and mouth epidemic. Chief Executive of Bord Fáilte John Dully said that some businesses may have to close permanently if the crisis continues into May.

Restrictions because of the Foot and Mouth crisis are making life difficult.

Saint Patrick's Day is one of the busiest times of year for the tourist industry in Ireland. St Patrick’s weekend will be like no other year with parades and events across the country cancelled as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak.

The restrictions caused by foot and mouth are making life challenging for hotels throughout the country. The Stillorgan Park Hotel is one of many hotels making plans to keep their guests entertained over the St Patrick’s Day period. Manager Ronan Doran is hoping for some easing of restrictions in relation to sporting events in Ireland. John Power of the Irish Hotels Federation estimates that there have been over £20 million worth of cancellations with around 20,000 jobs at risk.

Medium sized businesses involved in activity holidays such as angling and horse riding are under presssure. John Duffy of Bord Fáilte believes that if the crisis persists, the loss to Ireland could be as much as £500 million.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 March 2001. The reporter is Orla O’Donnell.