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A Grand Shame

Published on Jul 15 2014 11:28 AM in Pub/Bar/Nightclub

A Grand Shame

Over 1,000 pubs have shut in Ireland since 2007, according to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI). At the Joint Oireactas Committee of Finance today, DIGI called for the reversal of excise on alcohol which has cost jobs, has made our tourism offering less competitive and has punished the hard pressed Irish consumer.

DIGI represents 92,000 employees in pubs, restaurants, hotels, independent off-licences and drinks suppliers across the country. Speaking to the Committee today, Padraig Cribben, CEO of the VFI, who are members of DIGI said: “Excise damages our rural pubs and independent off-licences. Since 2007 over 1,000 pubs throughout Ireland have been forced to close. The small pubs in rural communities cannot soak up excise increases across a wide product mix, like a supermarket can – they are forced to pass the increase on to consumers who often assume the publican is price gauging. 80 per cent of the increase in the cost of a pint in the pub since 2011 has been directly caused by taxation. Excise damages our tourism offering. Ireland is the most expensive country in Europe to buy alcohol, which has been identified by tourists in Failte Ireland research to be one of their chief concerns about coming back to the country – second only to the weather."

“Excise increases black market trade. The huge tax wedge on alcohol products is leading to a rise in black market trade, with seizures in counterfeit alcohol steadily rising. Excise does not tackle alcohol misuse. Excise is a blunt instrument that unfairly impacts on small local businesses and does not deliver on reducing harmful patterns, like binge drinking.  It is a sledgehammer, not a scalpel. The Government is forcing pubs to charge more, which is driving consumers to buy cheap alcohol in supermarkets and drink at home. Alcohol costs are 78 per cent higher in this country than the European average, so clearly pricing is not addressing the problem.”

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