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Hospitality businesses on brink over costs

Dozens of small, rural businesses across the county are clinging on for dear life in the maelstrom of the ongoing cost-of-living storm that threatens the fundamentals of the hospitality industry.

Their fears were highlighted in the Dáil by Sinn Féin’s Mairéad Farrell, who said Government needed to listen to struggling businesses – across all sectors.

“We know the impact that business closures have across Galway. In any local town, you will see the coffee shop, the butcher, the local grocery shop, the bars, the restaurants, and the hotels. Any one of these closing can have an impact on the area,” she said.

“If we ignore the fact that these businesses are struggling and that they are telling us that they are going to have to close their doors, we do so at our own peril because of the impact these businesses have on their local communities, the vibrancy they bring to them and the job opportunities they create and because the amount of money in circulation increases when people are employed in the local area,” added Deputy Farrell.

Among those businesses trying to cope with spiralling costs, for example, is an award-winning community café that promotes the Irish language in the Conamara Gaeltacht. Pota Café in Baile na hAbhann, Indreabhán, whose owner said it is facing an existential threat from Government policy to return the hospitality VAT rate from 9% to 13.5% last September, and to increase minimum wage in January.

Diarmuid Ó Mathúna said those two measures alone increased the yearly cost of doing business at Pota by €35,000 – and that’s before inflation and rising cost of food and energy was factored in.

Caption: Pota Café in Baile na hAbhann.

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