Irish alcohol excise ‘second highest in EU’

Ireland has the second highest excise duty on alcohol overall across the European Union, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has said.

Ireland’s beer excise duty is 1,000pc higher than Germany’s, the lobby group claimed in a new report authored by Dublin City University economist Tony Foley.

Maggie Timoney, chair of DIGI and Heineken Ireland managing director, said Ireland’s excise tax is “an anti-competitive tax”.

“Ireland’s drinks industry employs 92,000 people nationwide; the wider hospitality sector employs 204,000 people, or 10pc of the Irish workforce in both cities and rural towns and villages,” Ms Timoney said.

“The hospitality sector purchases €1.1bn worth of Irish inputs annually and exports €1.25bn worth of produce every year.

“The report shows definitively that Ireland’s excise duty rates are punitive and completely out of kilter with our European peers,” she claimed.

“Ultimately, high levels of excise are a tax on a sector that contributes significantly to the Irish economy in terms of jobs and tourism, particularly in rural Ireland.”

She said Ireland’s drinks industry and hospitality sector play a critical role in Irish tourism, with the sector credited among the major attractions for overseas visitors.

“Post-Brexit, British tourist numbers dropped by 55,300 in the period January 2017-March 2017 compared to the same period in the previous year.

“We are dependent on British tourism with more than 40pc of all visitors to Ireland originating in the UK.”