WEST Cork hospitality providers have welcomed the decision to extend the 9% hospitality vat rate until September.
Michael O’Neill Jr of Fernhill House Hotel and Gardens in Clonakilty said that increasing the vat rate by 50% would have been a ‘terrible blow’ to West Cork.
‘Hospitality is our largest indigenous employer and is even more important in rural areas like West Cork where it supports 67% of rural jobs. No West Cork hotel engages in price gouging for festivals,’ he said.
Mr O’Neill thanked local FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan who arranged a recent online meeting with Minister Michael McGrath and other West Cork hoteliers in order for them to plead their case.
Neil Grant of the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery said that the vat retention, even if only to August is ‘vital’ for businesses like his and is a ‘real boost to West Cork tourism.’ He believed the online meeting with Minister McGrath was ‘critical.’
Fergus O’Mahony of Mary’s Anne Bar and Restaurant in Castletownshend said the vat retention will keep a lot of people in jobs and means restaurants won’t have to increase their prices.
‘It should never again be increased to 13.5% and it’s criminal,’ said Fergus.
Joe Kennedy, chair of the Cork Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) branch, said it now gives tourism businesses greater certainty as they grapple with the impact of the cost of living crisis on Irish consumers and key overseas markets.
‘When you look at the tourism vat rates among our key European competitors, it is clear that the 9% rate is the right rate for Ireland.’
Cork South West FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said he would lobby for the lower rate to be made a permanent measure.