Patricia Callan of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) and Director of ABFI comments on Eurostat figures with regard to alcohol prices in the EU
“We note Eurostat figures published today which show that Ireland is the most expensive country in the EU for alcohol. Eurostat also states that the large price variation is due mainly to differences in taxation of alcohol products among EU members states.
“Ireland has the second highest excise tax rate in the EU, behind only Finland. We have the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer and the third highest on spirits.
“Our high excise tax is an anti-competitive tax on one of Ireland’s largest employers and fastest-growing industries.
“The drinks industry employs 92,000 people nationwide; the wider hospitality sector employs almost 210,000 people, or 10 percent of the Irish workforce in both cities and rural towns and villages. Through a nationwide network of pubs, hotels, restaurants, off-licences, distilleries, microbreweries, wholesalers and distributors, the drinks industry exports €1.25 billion in goods annually and generates €2.3 billion of revenue for the Exchequer.
“Today’s figures show definitively that Ireland’s price levels vary significantly and that our excise rates are completely out of kilter with our European peers. This is yet another reminder that action is needed now. Ultimately, high levels of excise are a tax on businesses and a sector that contributes significantly to the Irish economy in terms of jobs, particularly in rural Ireland. It is also a penal recession-era tax on consumers which needs to be reversed.
“DIGI, through its Support Your Local campaign, is calling on the Government to take special notice of Ireland’s drinks and hospitality sector as it formulates Budget 2019 and will be seeking a reduction in our high excise tax rate to support the continued growth and development of this industry. “