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BUDGET: “Businesses will fold” after VAT rate on tourism increases

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By Sean Moriarty

Bernadette Randles, the chair of the Kerry Branch of the Irish Hoteliers Federation (IHF) has warned that business “will fold” as a result of this week’s budget.

Budget 2023, which was announced Tuesday afternoon by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath, confirmed that the VAT rate for service industries like hotels and guesthouses will increase from 9% to 13% on March 1.

This is on top of rising energy costs and the general increase in doing business in Ireland as a whole.

Ms Randles said the Government does not understand the hospitality industry.

"The tourism sector will be disappointed with the Government’s decision to increase the Tourism 9% VAT rate by 50% from March 1 next year and that the Government has not fully recognised the importance of the tourism industry to every town and every county in Ireland," an IHF statement said.

Busy hotels in Killarney and other tourist towns lead to busy town centres as guests visit other hospitality and non-related businesses.

Difficulties in the hotel industry affect everyone in Kerry; in pre-COVID times the sector supported 15,700 jobs and generated €592 million in local tourism revenues annually.

“You are going to see businesses folding,” Ms Randles told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It is hard to see how the smaller person will survive.”

Plans to add 11 new bedrooms to the Dromhall Hotel could be put on hold following this week’s budget.

“This was already on hold for three years but now I am going to seriously look at it and where it goes.”

Nationally, the industry employs 230,000 people, a drop from 330,000 in pre-pandemic times but these latest cost increases will further delay the industry’s full recovery.

Denyse Campbell, President of the Irish Hotels Federation, said that while elements of the Budget will help hoteliers, the sector feels that the Government have missed an opportunity to continue support for employment recovery and growth in tourism.

Ireland’s tourism VAT rate is the second highest in the European Union, and far above other European countries where tourism is a significant part of their economies, such as Portugal (6% Tourism VAT), Turkey (8%) and Malta (7%).

“Hoteliers and the tourism industry believe that 9% is the right VAT rate for long-term sustainable growth. Our industry has made great progress on restoring over 230,000 tourism jobs since the depths of the pandemic. We will continue to advocate for the retention of the 9% VAT rate beyond March 2023 and make the case for a labour-intensive industry that employs people in all parts of Ireland, including 70% outside Dublin,” said Campbell.

Hotels and other businesses will benefit from the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme aimed to offset the cost of rising energy bills.

Ms Randles said that will only go so far.

“One Kerry member has seen an increase from €121,000 in his annual ESB bill to €375,000, that's over €1,000 a day to keep the door open.”

She was also critical of the national media who consistently ran price gouging stories throughout the summer.

“You never hear of them reporting on the good side of hotels, the people that stay and have great experiences, the GAA clubs we support, the charities we give to, free meetings rooms if community groups want them.”

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Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry

This year’s Three Peaks Challenge, organised by Killarney Cycling Club will raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry. The June 15 event,  the only one day cycle event Down Syndrome Kerry […]

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This year’s Three Peaks Challenge, organised by Killarney Cycling Club will raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry.

The June 15 event,  the only one day cycle event Down Syndrome Kerry is associated with this year, promises to be a fabulous day of cycling and fun!.

The 100km route challenges the stronger cyclists and the 75km route gives cyclists the chance to become familiar with Moll’s Gap which is part of the Ring of Kerry route.
The cycle sets out from Killarney, heading out the Cork Road. The 75km route (one peak) turns right at Loo Bridge for Kilgarvan and onto Kenmare, while the 100km route, (three peaks) heads over the county bounds to Ballyvourney, onto The Top of Coom and then Kenmare. Both routes continue on over Moll’s Gap, passing through the picturesque Ladies’ View and back into Killarney, where all participants will be treated to a burger and drink at the finish line.

“We will guarantee plenty of laughs and refreshments along the way, there are two routes available; 100km or 75km, to meet all abilities, covering some of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland. This is the perfect warm-up for anyone thinking of doing the Ring of Kerry cycle this year or anybody looking for a really well run sportive with great craic compulsory,” Chairperson of Killarney Cycling Club, Kevin Murphy.

All cyclists who register online will be entered into a raffle for some great spot prizes kindly donated by our sponsors, winners collecting their prize at the finish line.

Down Syndrome Kerry’s goal is to help people with down syndrome to make their own futures as bright and independent as possible by providing them with education, support and friendship every step of the way.
Funds raised from this cycle will help Down Syndrome to continue to provide vital services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and job coaching to their members.
As Down Syndrome Kerry do not receive any government funding, they are totally dependent on your support to continue to make these services available to those who need them.
You can register for the cycle which is €40 for Cycling Ireland members, €20 for accompanied under 16’s on event master:- https://eventmaster.ie/event/dW04CnGSwV

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BAR 1661 is teaming up with Pig’s Lane for a night of cocktail mastery

BAR 1661, the winners of Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, are taking up temporary residency in Killarney’s first underground hotspot, Pig’s Lane for one night only on May 21. […]

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BAR 1661, the winners of Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, are taking up temporary residency in Killarney’s first underground hotspot, Pig’s Lane for one night only on May 21.

The dynamic team at Dublin’s BAR 1661, who have recently taken their talents to venues in Sweden, London, and the famous Dead Rabbit Bar in New York, are now hitting the road to Killarney for an epic takeover event.

Staunchly Irish and fiercely independent, BAR 1661 have two goals in mind; to introduce the world to Poitín and lift Irish cocktail culture to fresh heights.
Headed up by their founder Dave Mulligan, the Dublin team will transform Pig’s Lane on College Street for one night only. Since opening just a few months ago, Pig’s Lane has been raising the bar in Kerry with its cocktails, whiskey and wine offering. Kicking off at 6pm, experience a curated selection of Poitín-infused cocktails, featuring a bespoke rendition of BAR 1661’s drinks menu.

The crew will also serve up their unique take on the classic Irish Coffee with their Belfast Coffee, steeped with cold brew coffee, top-quality Irish Poitín, and rich demerara syrup. Guests will be able to chat with the team, get some insider knowledge on how to elevate their own cocktail-making skills, as well as learn insider tips on how to blend flavours to satisfy their own palette.

Two-time World Championship Mixologist and Drinks Development Manager for the O’Donoghue Ring Collection and Pig’s Lane, Ariel Sanecki said of the upcoming takeover: 

“We are very excited to welcome one of Ireland’s leading bars, BAR 1661, for an exclusive collaboration with us here at Pig’s Lane. This takeover is a great opportunity for people to meet with innovative mixologists who will be crafting bespoke creations right in front of them! We look forward to welcoming guests on the night, to what promises to be an epic event, featuring premium drink producers and unforgettable flavours.”

Before the takeover starts, drinks aficionados can join Dave for an intimate Poitín Masterclass. Attendees are invited to explore the diverse landscape of Poitín, accompanied by fascinating insights into its vibrant history and contemporary revival.

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