One of Dublin's best known hotels, the Burlington, is closing its doors today.

The General President of SIPTU, Jack O' Connor, says the closure represents a big setback for the Irish tourism industry and for the 400 employees who worked there.

The closure of the Burlington is the third hotel closure in the vicinity of Dublin 4 after Jurys and the Berkeley Court ceased trading for a time after developer Sean Dunne bought the site last year.

SIPTU has said that apart from the price being paid by those losing their jobs at the Burlington there are also long term consequences for the rest of society, the most immediate being the loss of established skills and potential skills development in a key sector of the Irish economy.

The general president of the union, Jack O'Connor, has criticised what he calls a pattern established last year when 750 staff at Jurys and the Berkley Court were laid off and later replaced by new staff on poorer pay and conditions when both hotels re-opened.

According to Mr O'Connor, the hotels and tourism sector throws into particularly sharp relief the contrast between the race to the top in terms of accumulating profits, and the race to the bottom in terms of driving down pay and conditions for those generating those profits.