Michael Healy Rae
..... in his words “BACK in 2011 the Government of the day showed great vision in reducing the tourism VAT rate from 13.5 per cent to nine per cent.
“I am both disgusted and angry at the fact we have seen such a dramatic increase in the tourism VAT rate today.
“It is a real slap in the face to one of the biggest sectors of employers in our country. The tourism sector provides over 235,000 jobs annually and many of these jobs in regional and rural areas will be under serious threat.
“The first businesses that will really feel the squeeze will be the ones in rural Ireland, the small operators who rely fully on the peak summer season, if the government had the gumption to at least raise the threshold from €37,500 to €50,000 it may result in a lot of smaller operators being saved.
“I have always said, no matter who it is or what party they are from, be it a Senior Minister or Junior Minister, in Kerry, we are better off having one, than not, but, in this case it seems like our Minister has not made much of an effort to save the 9% VAT rate, it just goes to show having a Minister for Tourism in Kerry clearly doesn’t mean a lot and I would call on Minister Griffin to at least look for the threshold to be increased to try and save some of the operators that will be under severe pressure now due to this increase.
“Creating over 65,000 jobs since 2011 and providing over €2 billion in taxes annually it is clear to see that this industry more than contributes to the exchequer. I see it as an unnecessary increase given the uncertainty of Brexit.
“It is both short sighted and reckless to now have Ireland in the top five in Europe when it comes to VAT on accommodation and I am extremely disappointed that Minister Griffin allowed this to happen on his watch.”