The Government is being urged to support independent off licences by reducing excise duty and banning below cost selling of alcohol, a move which according to members of the National Off-Licence Association in Galway will help retain jobs.
While launching the NOffLA’s 2015 pre-Budget submission recently, Galway members called on the the Government to reverse the consecutive excise duty increases introduced in Budget 2013 and 2014 and introduce measures to stop the sale of below cost alcohol.
The independent off-licence industry has lost 3,000 jobs since 2008 and the proposed measures included in the pre-Budget submission are designed to safeguard the remaining 5,800 jobs, stimulate growth within the industry, support local communities, and promote the responsible consumption of alcohol.
According to a recent DCU study, there are 570 pubs and off-licences in Galway and that the drinks industry indirectly supports a wage bill of €120 million annually in the county alone.
Eoin McCambridge of McCambridges Off-licence said: “As a local business person in Galway, I know of the challenges facing businesses all across the county and country as a whole. The past two increases in excise duty have directly contributed to local job losses and a rise in illicit trade of alcohol. The Government needs to realise that our sector employs locally, buy local goods and retails in a responsible and safe manner. All of these cannot be replaced.
“Retailers like me are simply unable to enjoy any form of recovery so long as we struggle with these unfair measures. NOffLA calls on Government to support independent off-licences and provide some much-needed security to an industry that supports 92,000 jobs across the country.”
Budgets 2013 and 2014 brought increases in alcohol excise duty on beer and cider (+43 per cent ), spirits (+33 per cent ) and wine (+56 per cent ). Ireland currently has the highest tax on wine in the EU, the second highest on cider and third highest on spirits and beer.