The Restaurant Association of Ireland has kick-started a campaign to highlight how critical it is that the reduced VAT rate of 9% is kept in place for 2014 and beyond, in order for the Irish economy to remain competitive.
The nine-day campaign began on September 9 and getting behind it is Ennis bar and restaurant The Cloister, run by husband and wife Dermot and Noreen Fetton.
The couple are in their first year of business at this premises and are hugely concerned that the forthcoming budget could see a VAT hike, something that would make trading extremely difficult for them going forward.
In embarking on the campaign to maintain the current VAT rate, The Cloister has lobbied Deputy Timmy Dooley for support.
Mrs Fetton said the reason they got behind the campaign is to stave off any further increase in overheads in their sector and to ensure jobs are retained and a quality service is maintained, while remaining competitive.
“We are in our first year of business, we opened last October and it is so disheartening to think that something like this could come our way and affect our business while we are in the early stages of business. We’re talking about our life here.
“You are trying to give it your all and in the climate we are in, there is a lot of costs involved in being in business and if there is anything at all that can be done to keep this at bay, we’d love to try to get on board. From our first year of business it would be fairly devastating to see it coming down the tracks. We would find it very difficult to cope,” she said.
Mrs Fetton also highlighted that compared with the rates in other European countries, such as Portugal where their VAT rate is 6%, France where it is 7% and Greece where it is 6.5%, it would be extremely hard to take it if the VAT went up to 13.5%.