The leading representative bodies for Ireland’s hospitality sector have come together to produce an election manifesto, centered around the issues of taxation, the ongoing skills shortge, insurance, and the cost of doing business.
The manifesto was published concurrently by the LVA, VFI, the Irish Hotels Federation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland.
Speaking at the launch, VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said: “As publicans, the election campaign is an opportunity to make our collective voice heard about the issues impacting our trade.
“As a Federation of almost 4,000 members we should not underestimate the power of each individual publican engaging with candidates about these issues.”
The manifesto’s headline issue is that of taxation and calls for the restoration of the 9% VAT rate to help drive international competitiveness. Ireland has the highest excise taxes on alcohol in Europe and a call is being made to reduce this to fall into line with EU averages during the lifetime of the coming government.
The manifesto also calls for increased investment in hospitality skills development including apprenticeships, equalising training allowances for hospitality apprentices, promoting hospitality careers to school leavers, and boosting the availability of skilled workers via more effective employment permit schemes.
As regards insurance, the group is calling for urgent action to tackle the huge payouts currently being given to claimants. The incoming government is being asked to concentrate on the Alliance for Insurance Reform’s manifesto to cut unfair personal injury awards; re-balance the duty of care on businesses; set up the Garda Insurance Fraud Unit; and demand lower premia from insurers.
The general cost of business is the final major issue singled out in the manifesto. Commercial rates, water charges, licensing and other regulatory-driven costs were all referenced as action points to be reviewed by the state.
Finally, the document asks for a dedicated Minister of Tourism position to be created to act as an advocate for the sector at cabinet level.