Many of Galway’s restaurants will not survive unless the current VAT rate is retained in next month’s budget.
That’s the prediction from the Restaurants Association of Ireland who have launched a ten-point plan for the survival of the industry, which is responsible for one in four tourism jobs and contributes €2 billion to the Irish economy each year.
Galway man Adrian Cummins, who is chief executive of the association, is leading the charge for the VAT rate not to be returned to 13.5%.
“When the economy went into decline, restaurants endured falling numbers of diners, rising prices and great financial uncertainty, with many having to close their businesses. Money generated by this reduced VAT rate, however, has kick-started a reversal of fortunes,” he stated.
“Since the VAT cut, employment in the restaurant and tourism sector increased by approximately 9000 jobs and this growth will continue, with an additional 5,000 jobs to be created over the next 12 months if VAT at 9% remains in effect” said Mr Cummins.
The association is calling for the current rate of excise duty to be decreased to encourage spend in restaurants.
“The savage increase in excise duty in Budget 2013 has crippled many restaurants. Tourists and Irish consumers compare Irish prices with those in other tourist destinations like Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and France, where there is no duty on wine,” Mr Cummins said.
Irish restaurateurs pay the highest catering wage rate in Europe and have to endure the highest excise duty on wines in Europe. Other costs were equally crippling – Irish food costs are 18% above the European average, the waste licence fee has increased from €1,200 to €4,000, with the average restaurant paying €6,254 in waste charges and €15,813 per year on commercial rates.
The association are calling for the creation of a business inspection and licensing authority that absorbs the existing business inspection activities of the Health and Safety Authority, and the National Consumer Agency.
“Restaurants deal with, on average, twenty-five different agencies and authorities in the day-to-day running of their business. Ireland is the most expensive country in Europe to run a restaurant,” said Mr Cummins.
“Restaurateurs are entrepreneurs; the government needs to be reminded of that. When a restaurant opens or expands, they will create several jobs and generate business for the area and their suppliers. In total the industry employs 64,000 people.”
€900,000 for great outdoors
Government funding of almost €435,250 has been approved for the upgrade of the Western Way Trail – one of four Galway projects to share funding of €929,200 under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme this week.
Local Minister for State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, said this vital investment is needed to ensure that the trail capitalises on the natural and historic beauty of the setting, and would prove extremely popular for visitors on the Wild Atlantic Way.
“This route has proved very popular for local and tourists alike with its natural beauty well-known to most people from the area,” the Galway TD said.
“This investment will result in significant improvements and will ensure that this wonderful facility is made accessible to an even greater number of people,” Minister Naughton noted.
“There has been large growth in the recreational tourism sector, and an increasing number of visitors to Ireland are particularly interested in walking, cycling and exploring natural settings and activities” the Minister said.
The scheme, which finances the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as greenways and walking trails, also sees The Walks in Loughrea receive €200,000 to upgrade the present route, with an additional €200,000 allocated to develop the Creggs Mountain walk, an element of the Beara – Breifne & Suck Valley Way.
And the Killarainy Woods trail in Moycullen, is being allocated €103,950 to enhance the route.
“The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme contributes to the Governments objective of strengthening rural economies,” said Minister Naughton.
“The objective of the Scheme is to provide funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure and for the necessary repair, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreation infrastructure in rural Ireland,” added the Minister.
Galway medtech firm awarded €3.6m to develop revolutionary stroke treatment
A Galway medical device company is working with a consortium to help develop disruptive technology in the treatment of stroke – after it was awarded awarded €3.6m in funding.
Ceroflo is partnered on the project with manufacturing firm Advant Medical and the Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Centre at Atlantic Technological University (ATU).
Cereflo secured the funding on foot of its development of a revolutionary new type of stent technology that promises to be vastly more effective than existing treatments to treat Intracranial Atherosclerotic Disease (ICAD), a leading cause of stroke.
Up to 50% of strokes are caused by a build-up of plaque in an artery in the brain known as Intra-Cranial Atherosclerotic Disease (ICAD).
Pharmaceutical therapies aimed at reducing the stroke rate are currently deemed the most effective form of treatment for the condition but more than 20% of patients with significant ICAD still suffer recurring stroke within twelve months.
Technological solutions have so far proved sub-optimal, leaving this large population of patients with the ongoing risk of devastating strokes.
The Ceroflo SubMax Stent represents a game-changer in the treatment of ICAD as its shape and structure has been developed to suit the unique challenges of this disease.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App
Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.
Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.
Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.
Galway Science and Technology Festival’s breaks new record
More than 22,000 people attended last Sunday’s Galway Science and Technology Festival exhibition in the University of Galway – breaking all previous records.
Celebrating 25 years of STEM Education, the exhibition was the opening event for the two week annual Galway Science and Technology Festival, which is the largest event of its kind in Europe. It showcases Galway as the MedTech capital of Europe and a growing IT Hub, bringing science and technology to over 35,000 students in schools across Galway city and county. This year there will be over 200 STEM demonstrations, shows and workshops in 140 primary schools and 40 post-primary schools.
The exhibition was a hive of activity with 25 shows and hands-on workshops and over 80 demonstrations and interactive exhibitions created by sponsor companies and agencies, universities and schools. Families enjoyed 3D astronomy shows and learned how to extract DNA from a banana , saw parasites in VR, drove Valeos self-driving car using a mobile phone, visited the Teddy Bear hospital and the ever popular Doctor Bug introduced tarantulas, snakes and lizards to very excited children and much, much more. Medtronic’s Junior Hospital team engaged with families at their fantastic interactive series of stands in the Human Biology Building. Sue McGrath entertained with the Devastatingly Dramatic Climate Show and new to the Festival is Braintastic with their Non-Sense show exploring our senses.
The 2022 Galway Science & Technology Person of the Year Award was presented to Dr Enda O’Connell, Senior Technical Officer at University of Galway and Founding Director of ReelLIFE Science, a science video competition for schools and youth organisations in Ireland and N. Ireland, celebrating its tenth year, the competition encourages young people to engage with STEM, while developing their creativity and communication skills.
To mark the 25th year of the Festival, a special presentation was made to the Treacy Family in commemoration of the late Noel Treacy, Founding Patron of the Galway Science & Technology Festival. Mr Treacy continued to be a strong advocate for the Festival over the 25 years and his presence was greatly missed this year.
Anne Murray, Festival Manager said: “We were delighted to be back on campus at the University of Galway to celebrate and learn about the world around us. The attendance on the day reflected the value that families and the public place on this unique event and we were so glad to be able to honour the memory of the late Noel Treacy who always said it started with an idea”.