Budget 2019: ‘Short-sighted’ and ‘devastating’ VAT rate increase dominates reaction in the North West

The hike in the VAT rate for the tourism industry is dominating the reaction in the North West to today’s budget.

Those working in the sector are furious and say it’s a dark day not only for the hospitality sector but also for rural Ireland in general.

Those words by Pascal Donohue today in Budget 2019 have caused a serious backlash from hoteliers, restauranteurs as well as all of the other hospitality businesses that have been impacted by today’s announcement to increase the tourism VAT rate back up to its pre-recession levels of 13.5%.

Paul Diver, the General Manager of the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh and the Chair of the Donegal branch of the Irish Hotels Federation says it’s  simply a devastating decision especially ahead of Brexit:

Former Chairperson of the Restaurant Association of Ireland Sligo’s Anthony Gray is equally disgusted by the move.

He says it’s already difficult to do business in rural Ireland with insurance costs and general overheads but this is the final nail in the coffin and will close down small businesses:

Independent TD in Donegal Thomas Pringle says it’s a Dublin-centric move:

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail politicians will not be getting a warm reception on the doorsteps of rural Ireland over this move.

FF Deputy Marc MacSharry has however condemned the moved today:

In other local budget news today, there was some good news with more money granted for the ongoing work on the N4 Castlebaldwin to Collooney bypass and work at Knock airport:

However, it could have been worse for diesel drivers; it had been feared that excise duty might have been increased on the fuel itself.

Still, these drivers in Ballyshannon who spoke to Ocean FM News this afternoon were not impressed: