VAT retention 'safeguards rural jobs'
Retention of the 9pc VAT rate for the hospitality sector is essential to support jobs in rural Ireland, particularly in the border counties, hotelier Paul Diver insisted.
That why Mr Diver is a relieved man there was no increase in this in Budget 2018.
"It was a very sensible move and one that will protect jobs in rural Ireland," he said.
The owner of the Sand House Hotel in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, said if this had been scrapped in the Budget it would have led to immediate job losses.
"From our point of view here in Donegal it's just black and white. If the VAT rate were increased, there would have been job losses straight away," Mr Diver said.
The former manager of the hotel made headlines in 2012 when he bought the 55-bedroom hotel, once valued at €6m, for €650,000, saving 50 jobs.
Nowadays it employs 90 at peak season.
"We rely very much on the northern market and because of the weakening of sterling it has made Donegal 25pc dearer as a destination. If we had increased the VAT rate on top of that, it would have to be passed on to the customer and they would have stopped coming," he said.
Joe Dolan, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, and a hotelier himself in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, said that "tourism makes an important contribution to the economy of every county and town in Ireland.
"While the industry has returned to growth, with Brexit looming a weaker sterling and a continued slowdown in tourism growth, there is no room for complacency."