| 14°C Dublin

Pubs offer tax-free pints to protest 'unfair levies'

Drinkers were given a pre-Budget boost last night as 38 pubs across Dublin offered them tax-free pints for the evening.

Loyal customers will benefit as publicans make a bold statement to the Government about the negative effects of high taxes on their business.

It will cut the cost for drinkers by 30pc, which is the amount the pub owners point out "goes straight to the Government".

Ultimately it meant drinkers could have three pints for the price of two.

The offer, publicans say, is their way of highlighting how what they consider to be an "unfair hidden tax-take" by government is impacting on publicans and customers alike.

They feel they "have no choice but to take a stand" and had decided that last night they would not charge their customers the tax.


The announcement was made by Willie Aherne of the Palace Bar in the city centre and Tony Gibney from Gibney's pub in Malahide.

They joined with 36 other pubs across the city to make the 30pc off offer.

Pub owners are bracing themselves for a price hike in the Budget on October 14.

The Licensed Vintners Association has already made a submission to Finance Minister Michael Noonan outlining why he should not hit them with yet another tax increase.

In fact, they have asked him to reverse the 10c added to every pint in last year's Budget.

The publicans say they are struggling because of a combination of high taxes, an increasing number of people choosing to drink at home, drink-driving laws, the smoking ban and a general cut in people's disposable income.

Brewers too want to see the drink taxes cut to boost a "renaissance" in the beer industry in Ireland with lots of new start-up breweries.

The sector now employs about 2,000 people and is continually growing.

The Irish Brewers Association has called on the Government "to support this sector by reducing the excise burden and allowing these emerging breweries to achieve their huge potential".

Even tourists are unhappy with Irish pint prices and cite alcohol costs as the third biggest disadvantage to visiting Ireland, according to a recent study by Dublin City University.

Bad weather and the high cost of living are top of their list but drink costs are a close third, the study found.