Hard Brexit and drink laws could devastate local hospitality sector, says study

The combination of a hard Brexit and the Public Health Alcohol Bill pose a major threat to Galway’s economy, according to a report by agri-economist Ciaran Fitzgerald on behalf of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI ).

The survey says that these factors will have an impact on the cost base of the hospitality sector that employs more than 11,300 people in Galway alone. The devaluation of sterling following the Brexit vote last June has led to a rise in cross border shopping and increased the cost of Ireland as a tourist destination. Combined with the new regulations proposed in the Alcohol Bill which will increase costs on brewers and distillers, the report says that a real concern exists for growth in the sector.

Indeed, the drinks industry and hospitality sector in Galway alone supports 375 pubs, 65 hotels, six distilleries, 143 restaurants, 205 off-licences and wage bill of €237 and @3.6 million in agri-putout.

ABFI is calling on the Government to introduce a range of policy measures to enable the sector to offset the risks posed by Brexit and the Alcohol Bill .

The report’s author, agri-economist, Ciaran Fitzgerald, said; “The Brexit vote last June and the subsequent drop-in sterling has presented a huge challenge for counties like Galway. Irish alcohol prices are already the most expensive in the EU at 175% the average and this combined with sterling’s devaluation means the price of alcohol can be up to 40% cheaper across the border.

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