The Chairman of Fáilte Ireland, Michael Cawley, has sresigned..
Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin said she has accepted hisresignation after it emerged he was on holiday in Italy, despite Government advice to avoid non-essential travel abroad.
In a statement, Mr Cawley said he had resigned with "great regret", saying he did not want the issue of his pre-arranged family holiday to Italy to distract from the of work of Fáilte Ireland in rebuilding the Irish Tourism Industry.
He said he fully supports the Government's policy on tourism and will continue to help the industry emerge from its current difficulties.
Among the calls for his resignation were from Kildare Labour Senator Spokesperson on Tourism and Sport Mark Wall, who issued such a statement to Kfm, by Sinn Féin and by Minister Catherine Martinn who said Mr Cawley's position was untenable.
In a statement, Minister Martin said the Tourism and Hospitality industry in Laois, Kildare and Offaly are particularly affected after restrictions were re-imposed i the counties following a rise in coronavirus cases.
The minister said the Government has encouraged people to holiday in Ireland this year, in solidarity with the tourism industry and to help schools reopen next month.
She said the vast majority of Irish people have followed this guidance.
"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," she said, adding that she was "disappointed to learn that the Chair of Fáilte Ireland was holidaying in Italy."
The minister said: "Mr Cawley has served Fáilte Ireland with energy over his time as chair, and I want to thank him for his service to the cause of tourism promotion in Ireland. He recognises that solidarity with the industry is extremely important at this time, and I have accepted his resignation this afternoon because I believe his position was untenable.
"I would encourage everyone to support the tourism and hospitality industries in any way they can, and am taking my own holidays in this country. Fáilte Ireland will continue to promote holidaying in Ireland, including a special provision to support the reopening of tourism in the three midlands counties."