Funderland will not open at the RDS this Christmas due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 restrictions which are also placing the event’s future viability under serious threat.
A part of Dublin’s heritage, particularly at Christmas, Funderland has provided joy to generations for over 50 years.
The Bird Family, who are the promoters of Funderland, employs over 100 people at the four annual Funderland events in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Belfast which have all been cancelled in 2020.
The company has been told that it is not eligible for State aid under the current Covid support mechanisms and without the financial wherewithal to offset the mounting costs, recovery into 2021 will be a gargantuan challenge.
Funderland, like many other regulated businesses, is struggling to continue to cover the costs associated with insurance, rent, storage, contractual obligations, administration overheads, loan repayments and utilities.
Director of Funderland, Don Bird, said:
“Funderland must continue to absorb the costs of maintaining attractions, certifying and insuring them, implementing new COVID procedures and plans, training staff and absorbing huge costs with no income and no prospect of reopening on the horizon.
“We had lived in the hope that we would stage a potentially year-saving event in Dublin this Christmas.
“Unfortunately, it is just not possible for Funderland to go ahead under the current circumstances.
“We are asking the Government not to neglect us and others in our industry as we anxiously await the development of a vaccine and the potential easing of restrictions that will permit us to entertain our customers as soon as it is safe to do so.
“We call on the Government to support our industry now, as it has supported other hospitality sectors, so that we may survive the catastrophic loss of income since last March and allow us to emerge into the New Year.
“We are grateful for the support and encouragement of the RDS who have worked tirelessly with us to ensure that we could present our annual event in a manner fully compliant with safety protocols if circumstances permitted.
“The Taoiseach, his Ministers and his partners in Government were children once and many of them have children and families of their own. They must surely understand how important our industry is when it comes to creating fun memories and happy times for people of all ages.
“As an Irish owned family-run business it has been devastating to not be able to open for the year.
“We sincerely hope that everyone follows the guidelines in the interest of slowing the spread of the virus, protecting public health, our frontline workers and allowing businesses, such as ours, to return to normal and flourish once more.”