Failte Ireland/Authority of TAMS:
Fáilte Ireland has sub-contracted its accommodation registration assessment and classification functions to Tourist Accommodation Management Services Ltd (TAMS), which is responsible for inspecting and recommending approval for properties classified as: hotels, holiday camps, guesthouses, hostels, caravan parks, campsites and self-catering accommodation. TAMS will complete an initial assessment for the particular classification of a premises based on the information on file and provided by the proprietor.
This will then be verified following a visit to the premises by TAMS and only then may Fáilte Ireland award the classification.
Powers/Functions of TAMS:
Fáilte Ireland maintains a register of hotels. It has the power to cancel registration if it is of the opinion that the minimum standards of the Fáilte Ireland Hotel Classification Scheme (“the Hotel Scheme”) are not adhered to. Fáilte Ireland, acting through TAMS, may enter a premises to inspect it to determine if the minimum standards are met.
While the relevant legislation does not confer on Fáilte Ireland or TAMS the power to close a premises or to make conditions as to the use or running of the premises, it does giveFáilte Ireland authority to approve eligible hotels for the Hotel Scheme. This then enables the properties to use the term ‘hotel’ and be registered with Fáilte Ireland.
Criteria for registration with Fáilte Ireland include:
- Evidence that the premises is registered by the Health Service Executive (HSE), under the Food Hygiene Regulations 1950-1989 and the EC (Hygiene of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2000;
- Written evidence from either (a) the relevant Fire Authority that it has no objection to the registration of the premises as a hotel; or (b) from the applicant’s architect/engineer that the premises substantially complies with the Fire Services Act 1981 and/or the Building Control Act 1990; and a copy of the Fire Safety Certificate; and
- Evidence that the premises complies with the Planning Acts 1963 to 2010 (as amended).
Consequence of Non-registration:
- Restriction on the use of the term ‘hotel’ and ‘guesthouse’
The Tourist Traffic Act 1939 prohibits the proprietor from using the term ‘hotel’, and from creating the impression that a premises is a hotel or guesthouse, unless the premises is registered with Fáilte Ireland.
- Renewal of Liquor Licence
Failure to register with Fáilte Ireland has serious implications for the ability of a hotel to renew its liquor licence with the National Excise Licence Office (NELO). NELO requires confirmation of the registration certificate of a hotel with Fáilte Ireland before issuing a new liquor licence each year.
- Star Certification:
The Hotel Scheme is a mandatory scheme in which all hotels, being classified, must attain the One Star minimum entry level requirements in order to comply with the Registration and Renewal of Registration Regulations for Hotels 2003 (the “Regulations”).Should a property fall below the minimum standards as set out in the Regulations, the property cannot participate in the Hotel Scheme. This means that the property will not be permitted to (1) use the star classification; (2) use the term “Registered by Fáilte Ireland” on marketing materials or websites; or (3) have access to the marketing opportunities provided by Discover Ireland including trade forums, Fáilte Ireland training and business support.
If a property has been registered but then fails to renew for whatever reason, the proprietor will then be required, in any subsequent renewal of registration, to obtain up-to-date confirmation of compliance with planning permission, fire officer requirements and hygiene regulations.
It is also likely that, if the proprietor has obtained finance with regard to the hotel premises, a failure to maintain or renew its registration may be a breach of its loan agreement.
Appeal of Cancellation
There is scope for the owner of a premises to appeal the cancellation of the registration of its premises with Fáilte Ireland.
Before a notice of cancellation is served on a proprietor, two separate inspections must have been carried out on the premises. Subsequent to the notice of cancellation being served, the registered proprietor may, within thirty days after service of the notice, make written representations to TAMS/Fáilte Ireland with a view to showing that the premises continues to be eligible for registration. Following receipt of these written representations, TAMS is obliged to carry out a third investigation of the premises. If TAMS remains of the opinion that the premises have ceased to be eligible for registration, TAMS may cancel the registration.
If the property is to continue to operate as a hotel, then registration is in effect mandatory and it is an offence to continue to trade the hotel without it being on the register with Fáilte Ireland.