A report on the impact of anti-virus restrictions that was prepared for the Press Up hospitality group claims taxpayers could face an industry compensation bill of €1 billion if the company wins its legal challenge against the State over the latest round of measures. The group of 55 restaurants, bars and hotels run by businessmen Paddy McKillen Junior and Matt Ryan is suing the Government seeking compensation for the shutdown of the hospitality sector and a High Court declaration that the rules are an unconstitutional interference in its business.
As ministers continued this week to plot a course out of Level 5 restrictions that may yet leave some pubs closed, Press Up has commissioned a report by well-known economist, Jim Power. It warns of “severe financial repercussions for the State” if the company wins its case and other claims follow, and says the compensation bill for the whole hospitality sector could reach €1 billion.
The workings for the estimate are not outlined in the report but it is believed that the figure has previously been discussed among Press Up’s advisers, who projected the company’s losses if tight restrictions keep the sector effectively closed. In an affidavit filed with the High Court in the case, Mr Ryan estimated that Press Up’s losses this year from the restrictions may top €20.7 million.
The State has yet to file a response to the claims made in the legal case, which has been entered onto the court’s fast-track commercial list.