Saturday 18 November 2017

'Budget was great for small business and rural Ireland too'

Jonathan and Aisling Byrne: The small business owners

Jonathan and Aisling Byrne
Jonathan and Aisling Byrne

THE Budget was not just a great day for small business owners but a good day for rural Ireland too, according to Jonathan and Aisling Byrne.

The couple took a leap and left full-time careers to open the Hungry Monk café in Cong, Co Mayo, two years ago. And it looks like their gamble has paid off as the successful restaurant has attracted visitors from far and wide. During their busiest times they employ seven people.

The couple welcomed the measures which will directly affect small business owners in the hospitality sector - the changes to USC rates and the retention of the 9pc VAT rate.

They have a particular interest in artisan foods, as they source all their products locally.

"It is definitely good news. If we want to revive rural Ireland, we believe the way to do so is to encourage the growth of these small businesses. And in our case, the food business.

"Anything that helps them is going to help us and it is going to help our community because there will be more disposable income that can be spent in places like ours by all of society," Jonathan said.

However, they are concerned that the minimum wage increase may have a negative impact.

"We can't be complaining too much because the VAT stayed the same.

"But these small overheads as they start to rise, it has knock on effects for us and these small artisan producers," he added.

"It is a more expensive way to do business to deal with local suppliers but the quality is better. But because their overheads and everything is higher, they have to pass that on to us who want to support them."

Emma Jane Hade

Irish Independent

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