Over 136,000 people are employed in the drinks service sector across Ireland according to new research by Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI). The research takes data from the CSO's “2012 Annual Services Inquiry”, which is the most comprehensive and up to date data on the drinks related elements of the hospitality sector.
DIGI has called on the Government to reverse excise on alcohol in the upcoming budget, saying "it is an unfair tax on small businesses, consumers and tourism". They noted that an excise reversal would have a positive knock-on effect on the economy, with more people socialising in bars and restaurants.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said: “This latest data from the CSO confirms the economic impact of our bars, restaurants and hotels. Despite this, the industry has been hit with punitive excise increases in the last two Budgets and we’d call on the Government to take immediate action by reversing excise on alcohol in next week’s Budget.
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“Excise is a tax on consumers. Ireland has some of the highest alcohol tax rates in Europe. A group of customers in a restaurant are paying 34.5% in excise and VAT on a €22.95 bottle of wine. If excise was reversed it would encourage more people to socialise in bars and restaurants, rather than at home, and it would bring life to towns and cities across the country with obvious direct tax benefits to the Exchequer.
“Excise is a tax on tourism. Ireland currently has the highest prices for alcohol in Europe, according to Eurostat. Failte Ireland research shows that the high cost of alcohol is the number one reason, behind the weather, for tourists not returning to Ireland. We would urge the Government to stop hitting an industry that is vital for the lifeblood of the economy; reverse excise, create jobs.”
Tony Foley, the economist at DCU who wrote the report, said: “The latest data confirms the large economic role of bars, restaurants and hotels across the country: · Invested €210 million in the Irish economy in 2012· Full or part time employment for 136,572 people· Turnover of €7.1billion in 2012· 13,560 enterprises in every corner of the country· €4.3 billion worth of inputs purchased· A wages and salary bill of €2 billion· Gross value added of €2.682 billion; €738 million from bars, €904 million from restaurant enterprises and €1 billion from hotels.”