Finance Minister Michael Noonan is seen to be ‘playing a blinder given the cards that he’s been dealt’
Entrepreneur and ex-Dragon
"I welcome the job creation initiatives such as the Start Your Own Business Scheme. I feel, however, that this could be even more impactful if it was extended to include those already in employment as they may be even better placed to create jobs for themselves and others.
"The retention of the nine per cent for the hospitality sector is also an important move as are the incentives in the construction sector such as the tax relief on home improvement works."
Restaurateur and owner of Town Bar and Grill
"In a word 'Yes' and as everybody knows the restaurant business is on its knees and the Government is to be commended for not raising the VAT, which would have had a detrimental effect on business and jobs. Minister Noonan is playing a blinder given the cards he has been dealt!"
Celebrity chef, proprietor of McNeans' restaurant in Cavan
"I'm thrilled that the Government kept our VAT rate. It's good for jobs, tourism and the economy. The Restaurant Association of Ireland lobbied very hard to keep the VAT rate, so well done. I only had a very small part to play, but it has really helped our industry and employment."
Chairman of Insomnia Coffee company and ex-Dragon
"Yes. The retention of the nine per cent VAT rate will keep prices competitive and will create an additional 5,000 jobs in the hospitality sector. This is fantastic news for my business Insomnia that will open 13 new shops in 2013 bringing our total number to 76.
"The Budget is now in the past and personal taxation has been largely spared so retailers can expect renewed consumer confidence which will result in buoyant Christmas spending."
Owner of Castle Leslie Hotel and Estate in Co Monaghan
"We – as all our industry is – are delighted with the VAT rate staying the same and with the doing away of the airport tax. It all helps to support the hospitality industry which is the life blood of many rural areas, as well as being one of top earners of foreign income and one of top employers in the country."
Valerie and Alan Kingston
Glenilen Farm dairy producer
"As food producers we are thankful that there has been no change in the nine per cent VAT and a zero-rate travel tax should give our tourism industry a boost. Keeping the 12.5 per cent corporation rate is really important as every business reinvests in growth for more employment."
Of the family business Keogh's Hand Cooked Crisps
"Promoting entrepreneurship and supporting start-up enterprises is a key factor in managing the Irish economy into recovery. The Government has clearly identified this as a key area and made several supporting changes in the Budget which will make it easier for budding entrepreneurs to take the first steps.
"The introduction of a new Start Your Own Business scheme will assist individuals who have been unemployed for at least 15 months start their own business by giving them a two-year exemption from tax. However, is this a real benefit? Considering that most new business cannot afford to support an income at a taxable rate in the first two years.
"An increase in the VAT cash accounting threshold from €1.25m to €2m will really help growing start-up companies with cash flow issues. All in, I think it's a broadly positive Budget which I think will help grow the economy."
Debt management expert
"Stability is the main issue. Business has been postponing vital medium and long-term decisions on expenditure pending signals that our finances are in order and, thereby, that it is safe to invest. Business has been on hold basically for four to five years.
"The signals that are coming from this Budget are that we have taken the hard decisions, we have clarity and, therefore, now is the time to progress."
"I am very hopeful for Ireland after this Budget. It's great the Government kept the VAT rate at the same level. It's still very expensive but I wouldn't live anywhere else. We haven't exploited tourism properly and we need to concentrate on that. We have to play down Guinness and Riverdance – there is more to Ireland than that."
"There was some good news in the Budget for business but it didn't go nearly far enough. Most of the initiatives relate to the construction sector but that's a short-term win. We need to do far more to support the indigenous SME sector. The biggest problem remains the significant debt levels in the SME sector.
"Of the €50bn of SME debt at least half is impaired. Yet not a word about how we are going to address that in the Budget. There are good solid businesses that are struggling to service debts – many in default – until we deal with this their ability to grow and create more jobs is limited . . . We need to get rid of the red tape, disentangle property debt from viable SMEs and find a better way to triage government support."
"Ireland has responded to the global challenges over the past five years with an incredible spirit of leaving the past behind and moving on to a stable and brighter future and there is no better nation to respond to this than us!
"I have just reinvested in Ireland, as so many others have, and hopefully there are a lot more to follow suit!"