Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd, one of Ireland's longest-running tour operators, has closed down.
The company, which also trades as Concorde Travel, announced it had ceased trading on Tuesday, citing Irish travel protocols due to Covid-19 as “the most restrictive in Europe”.
Any customers impacted by the closure should contact the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR), which provides financial protection for flight inclusive travel packages originating in Ireland and will manage any outstanding refunds.
In a statement, Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd said its members had done “everything they could to see themselves and their customers through the pandemic.”
“Travel protocols in Ireland are the most restrictive in Europe, putting Irish travel companies at a disadvantage to their European counterparts,” it said.
“Like many travel agencies and tour operators Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours was paying overheads, while at the same time unable to trade and also waiting on refunds from suppliers. Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours has worked full time during the pandemic for no return.”
The company said it had hoped to continue trading “with the benefit of a large refund claim” of business interruption insurance but had not been able to reach an agreement with its insurers.
In a statement, the CAR said it operates a consumer protection scheme that may cover the customers of Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd and its various trading names.
These include Concorde Travel, Joe Walsh Tours, Cara Holidays and Pilgrimages Abroad.
The CAR also operates a refund credit note scheme that may cover those whose holidays were cancelled due to Covid-19 and have yet to receive a refund from the company.
Commenting on the decision today to cease trading, Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd's directors said: “The decision that has been made is in the best interest of all concerned.
“We would like to thank, at this time, all our customers over the years. We would also like to acknowledge the incredible effort that our staff have made, and for their loyalty and support, particularly during the last year.”
Any customer of Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd with monies paid towards a cancelled booking or a future travel package should contact CAR and make a claim.
Claim forms, which must be submitted within 60 days of the collapse of the business, can be downloaded here.
This article was amended at 4.30pm on April 27th.