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Unread 13-09-2006, 14:59   #1
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Default Great Southern Hotels


You have to forgive me , I am not from Ireland , however how did the GSH ever end up being owned by the Airports ? I assume by their name they were created by the predeccesor to Irish Railways.

Now just imagine if they did still own them and sold them off , that would pay for a few new trains/few miles of track ( or more likely spent on expensive consultants ..... )

Can anyone enlighten me ?
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Unread 13-09-2006, 16:27   #2
Thomas J Stamp
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The Great Southern Hotel chain has a long and distinguished history. The Galway Great Southern dates from 1845 and the Killarney Great Southern from 1854. The company enjoyed early success in the heyday of rail travel. This was what the hotels were originally designed for.

They were resort hotels to be supplied with customers by the new railway lines that were being built at the time from the middle of the 1800's onwards. In fact, that era marked the first beginnings of the tourist industry as we know it today.

The railway company put together a package, not only building the railway track, but also developing top quality hotel accommodation in the towns at the end of the track. The idea was that these quality hotels would provide a tourist destination and this would, in turn, promote greater use of railway that served the location.

The State acquired the hotels as part and parcel of its acquisition of the various private railway companies and their amalgamation to form CIE. By the 1960's with the decline of railway traffic and the growth in use of the motor car the hotel group developed several motor-inn type facilities such as the Rosslare Hotel, the Torc in Killarney and the Corrib in Galway. The Russell Court in Belfast was also developed in this period.

As a result of the oil crises of the 1970's and the downturn in tourism due to the Northern troubles, the Great Southern Group found itself in financial difficulty. In 1977 the company sold the Kenmare, Mulranny, Sligo and Bundoran hotels to the private sector to raise capital for essential refurbishment of the remainder. The Russell Court was disposed of in 1983.

Trading conditions remained very poor. By the early 80's the Great Southern Hotel Group had accumulated losses of £10 million. The group was then transferred, in March 1985 from CIE to CERT which is the national body responsible for the co-ordination of education, recruitment and training for the tourism industry.

The Government provided for a re-financing package of £14 million to cover accrued losses, rationalisation of the group and a programme of capital development. A further £2.7 million was made available in 1986. This investment and better trading conditions produced an improved performance and by 1987 the company was trading profitably. It has continued in profit every year since that date.

The then board of Great Southern Hotels recognised that further significant investment in the group was needed to realise its potential in terms of expansion and development. The board recognised that the company was incapable of financing the required development programme from its own internal resources.

This lead to the decision of the Government in 1990 to accept an offer from Aer Rianta to acquire the six hotels of the Great Southern Hotel Group in return for a cash payment of £10 million to the Exchequer and a commitment to invest in further development of the Group.

Aer Rianta agreed to contribute £4 million to a further refurbishment programme. Aer Rianta also transferred its hotel at Shannon airport to the Great Southern Group bringing the number of hotels in the chain to seven.

Now. So there.
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