Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) chair Liam Reid: “Measures welcome – pathway now required for reopening and long-term recovery to save the industry.”

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“While we welcome and await full detail of the measures announced today, including the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and the reduction in the hospitality and tourism VAT rate to assist the drinks and hospitality industry, we must now move to establish a pathway for the reopening and, importantly, long-term recovery of this sector.

“This is ultimately what will save this industry. We have seen signs from Government in recent weeks that the magnitude and enormity of the challenges facing the drinks and hospitality industry are being realised and accepted.

“Today’s Budget measures, coupled with the establishment of the hospitality forum, which convened for the first time last week, are necessary and essential first steps in addressing the grave challenges facing the sector.

“However, the journey for Ireland’s drinks and hospitality industry has only begun, and it will be a lengthy one. Today, a significant portion of businesses in this industry across the country remain closed. Every week of closure makes it even more difficult and costly to reopen, to trade, and to recover.

“Compounding that issue, Ireland’s excise tax on drinks remains the second highest in the EU, which means that the publicans, restauranteurs, hoteliers, brewers, distillers, and other industry businesses are losing money that could be invested in recovery.

“We must move fast and the next step in this journey is the National Economic Plan expected to be published next month. This plan, due to include long-term priorities and measures for economic sustainability, needs to focus on stimulating the key industries integral to economic recovery, including Ireland’s drinks and hospitality industry.

“Targeted, long-term policy decisions need to be taken to help this industry recover, grow and, importantly, create and maintain jobs lost in Ireland over the course of 2020.”

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