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VAT rate ‘holds the key’ to survival of Galway restaurants

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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.”

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s housing stock on the rise

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A total of 1,147 residential buildings were under construction in Galway as of June – according to the latest GeoView Residential Buildings Report.

Over half of the residential buildings under construction in Ireland in June 2021 were located in the Leinster region (58.4%), revealed the report which is published by GeoDirectory and EY Economic Advisory.

The Greater Dublin Area of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow accounted for 35.6% of the total number of buildings under construction in the country. In contrast, the lowest levels of construction activity were recorded in Ulster (6.5%) and Connacht (10.6%).

In all, 1,182 new residential addresses in Galway were added to GeoDirectory’s nationwide database in the twelve months to June 2021.

At 30.8%, the highest proportion of the new residential address points were again located in Dublin, followed by Cork (10.8%), Kildare (9.7%) and Meath (5.7%).

In percentage terms, Leitrim (219.6%), Carlow (146.5%) and Roscommon (144%) registered the highest year-on-year growth in new address points, albeit from a previously low base.

The report also found that 9.5% of all residential stock in the state are apartments. In total, there were 194,898 apartment address points across the country in June 2021.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway towns included in home support pilot

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Confirmation...Minister Anne Rabbitte.

Tuam, Athenry and Loughrea will form one of a select number of areas for a nationwide pilot scheme to see how to improve home support services for families in need of carers.

Minister for Disabilities and Galway East Deputy Anne Rabbitte confirmed that the Galway towns were among nine across the country to form part of a national Home Support Pilot Programme, which will commence next month.

The pilot scheme will deliver an additional 230,000 hours of Home Support services over a six-month period, with the evaluation of the outputs to continue over a twelve-month period from its commencement.

Minister Rabbitte described this as a major boost for Tuam, Athenry and Loughrea.

“This will deliver in-home supports across the three towns, which are in the heart of East Galway and I know from working with families across the constituency that this will be a major boost,” she said.

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.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Galway passengers are all smiles at Shannon!

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Shannon Airport
Shannon Airport

The smiles on the faces at Shannon Airport very much told its own story this week – with passengers taking to skies as the easing of restrictions and the first day of the European Digital COVID Certificates took effect.

And it wasn’t just the joy of travel starting to resume that lifted spirits at the airport but also the announcement by Ryanair of a new once-weekly service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) to commence on August 7 – the third new service announcement for Shannon Airport over recent weeks.

There was a real sense of excitement as passengers of all ages became very much at ease with the heightened public safety measures in a ‘back-to-the-future’ day for the West of Ireland gateway airport.

There were reunions as inbound flights arrived but also a palpable degree of anticipation as others got set to depart on the earliest flight out of the airport today, the 7:10am flight to Gatwick.

Among those boarding was Clarenbridge native Claire Tomlin and her husband Jake, together with their three children, including their twins who turn a year old next week.

“It’s been amazing to get back. The kids saw their grandparents for the first time and their cousins and aunties and uncles, so it was fantastic,” said Claire.

“Shannon is just so convenient for us because it’s only about 40 minutes’ drive. So, it just makes everything a lot easier in terms of getting to and from places with little ones. So, yeah, Shannon is a great resource for us. Really, really good. We hope to be able to go back more and more.”

It was smiles all around for Shannon Airport staff as they got back to doing what they do best. “Well, today is a great day because you can see the atmosphere around the place, people are at ease here and they’re glad to be back, they’re glad to get up in the sky again,” said Shannon Duty Free Sales Associate Helen Quinlivan.

“It’s great to see the excitement. People are really looking forward to going back and seeing their loved ones and they’re very at ease.”

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