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175,000 or 7.6% of all Irish workers employed in drinks and hospitality jobs in Ireland, while the industry accounts for 9% of all jobs in the border region and 10% of all jobs in Kerry

Posted on 31 August 2019

70% of all drinks manufacturing jobs located outside of Dublin, rural Ireland is “highly vulnerable” to no-deal Brexit shock – new report*

  • New Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) report, authored by DCU Economist Anthony Foley, highlights value of drinks and hospitality sector employment to the economy and rural jobs**
  • Ireland’s tourism employment (of which the drinks industry is integral) as a share of total employment is the fourth highest in the EU, after only Greece, Cyprus and Malta
  • Between Q1 2012 and Q1 2019, drinks and hospitality jobs accounted for more than 12% of Ireland’s total employment increase, with most jobs in beverage and food serving
  • In six of the seven non-Dublin regions, growth in hospitality employment has exceeded growth in total regional employment
  • Rural concentration of drinks and hospitality businesses makes them especially vulnerable to a Brexit-related economic downturn
  • DIGI urges Government to reduce alcohol excise tax by 15% over next two years to support job creation and business investment.

175,000, or 7.6% of all Irish workers, are employed in drinks and hospitality jobs in Ireland, while the industry accounts for 9% of all jobs in the Border region and over 10% of all jobs in County Kerry.

Almost 70% of Ireland’s 5,876 drinks manufacturing jobs are located outside of Dublin, according to a new report published by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) today.

DIGI has said that because these rural areas are less economically diverse compared to Dublin and other urban regions, they are highly vulnerable to the fallout of a no-deal Brexit downturn, particularly the reduction in tourism numbers and a tougher export market that are likely to follow a further devaluation of sterling.

The warning was made in a new report, “National and regional employment in the drinks and hospitality sector in 2019”, commissioned by DIGI and authored by DCU economist Anthony Foley.

The report demonstrates that the hospitality and wider tourism sector, of which the drinks industry is an integral component, contributes a very large share of employment. Ireland’s tourism employment as a share of total employment is the fourth highest in the EU, after only Greece, Cyprus and Malta. In the past few years, hospitality employment has grown faster than total employment and its share of total employment has increased.

The report shows the immense importance of drinks and hospitality businesses to the economy. As many as 175,000 people, or nearly 8% of all Irish workers, are employed in drinks and hospitality jobs roles.

In six of the seven non-Dublin regions, growth in hospitality employment has exceeded growth in total regional employment. 

Between Q1 2012 and Q1 2019, drinks and hospitality jobs accounted for more than 12% of Ireland’s total employment increase; jobs in beverage and food serving made up most of the roles. 

90,000 people are directly or indirectly employed by the core drinks industry, which includes pubs, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, and other associated businesses.

According to recent industry analysis by DIGI, 71 rural pubs closed in 2018. The figure is a stark reminder of the pub’s continued decline in rural Ireland. In the period between 2005 and 2018, 1,535 or nearly 20% of rural pubs closed; many were forced to shut up shop during the recession. 

Support Your Local event

The report was published today ahead of DIGI’s ‘Rural Development and the Drinks and Hospitality Industry’ event in Connacht Distillery, Ballina, Co. Mayo this Friday. The second in a three-part series of regional events, economist and author David McWilliams will address a group of local and national industry members on the importance and role of this sector in Ireland while Ivan Yates will chair an industry-led panel discussion on the issues raised.

Reduce the alcohol excise tax

Despite the drinks and hospitality sector’s clear contributions to Irish employment and the economy, the Government, through levies like alcohol excise tax, has made doing business much harder, particularly in rural Ireland.

Ireland has the second-highest overall alcohol excise tax in Europe, the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits.

Combined with the threat of a no-deal Brexit, a recently raised VAT rate, and rising operational costs (particularly insurance premiums), many rural drinks and hospitality businesses are at real risk of laying off employees or closing completely.

To safeguard some of Ireland’s most valuable economic contributors and rural employers, DIGI is urging the Government to reduce alcohol excise by 15% over the next two years: first, by reducing it by 7.5% in Budget 2020 and by an additional 7.5% in Budget 2021.

 
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland
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