Monday 25 March 2019

Your Budget: Pub owner raises a glass as excise rates are left alone

Publican - Michael O'Donovan

Publican Michael O’Donovan, The Castle Inn, Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Publican Michael O’Donovan, The Castle Inn, Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Michael O'Donovan is the third generation of his family to run The Castle Inn on Cork's South Main Street, one of the city's oldest pubs.

He has seen changes in the pub trade, particularly over the past 15 years, with the introduction of measures including the smoking ban and the implementation of stricter drink-driving laws.

The one constant, trading through two recessions, has been a constant hit on excise duty. He's relieved this wasn't touched at least this year.

"It was great the 9pc VAT rate was kept for the hospitality sector and, for us, the big thing was that excise duty wasn't touched," Mr O'Donovan said. "I'm a bit disappointed it wasn't reduced and that would have made us more competitive but at least they gave us stability in keeping it at the same rate."

Between 2012 and 2013 excise was put up 44pc on beer, 37pc on spirits and 62pc on wine, making it the highest excise duty in the EU for wine and the second highest for beers and spirits.

Mr O'Donovan (42) would like to have seen a reduction in excise across the board of 15pc to take them back somewhere near 2008 levels.

"The Vintners' Federation of Ireland had this costed and it would cost around €180m but because of all the jobs we support already, in my opinion this would lead to even more being created," he said.

"I presume for the general public everybody will have a few bob extra in their pockets so they'll have more disposable income and hopefully they might start spending it in the economy to create jobs, so in that regard it was a good budget."

He wants to see the hospitality sector becoming more competitive as a tourist destination in a global market.

Irish Independent

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