The drinks industry in Ireland is calling for a 15% reduction in tax on alcohol to boost tourism from Britain.
The move follows the Brexit vote In Britain to leave the European Union. The decision led to a dramatic fall in the pound compared with other major currencies like the dollar and the euro. It means British tourists and Irish nationals living in Britain will now find it far more expensive to visit Ireland.
This could hit the Irish tourist industry hard as most visitors to Ireland come from the UK.
A recent study suggested that pubs were Ireland’s main tourist attraction.
The lobby group, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) says excise duty on alcohol therefore represented a “direct tax on tourism in Ireland” and called for the 15% reduction.
The group represents a wide cross section of the industry including drinks suppliers, pubs, hotels, off-licences and restaurants. It believes the Brexit vote means a cut in duty is essential to ensure Ireland remains an attractive destination for people living in Britain.
Maggie Timoney, DIGI Chairperson and Managing Director at Heineken Ireland said: “An alcohol excise reduction is a vital response to the new and immediate effect of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.
“Excise increases are detrimental to the Irish drinks and hospitality industry and the 200,000 jobs it supports. Ireland has the second highest excise on alcohol in the EU.”
Ms Timoney described the alcohol tax as “regressive and inequitable”, especially as it is very high by EU standards.
“We believe that the particularly high Irish excise tax is detrimental to economic growth and economic activity.”
DIGI is now calling on the Government to reduce excise by 15% in Budget in October.