No-deal Brexit could trigger rise in food prices, says Simon Coveney

Seen & Heard: Marlet funding, Gigable growth, retailers’ VAT refund concerns

Irish shoppers will most likely see the price of some food products increase from the new year if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has told the Business Post.

In an interview with the newspaper, the Minister said he didn’t expect to see any “empty shelves” in the absence of a trade deal, but the imposition of tariffs could mean the price of some items would rise in the short term while retailers attempted to secure alternatives from elsewhere in the EU.

The warning comes as talks continued between EU and British negotiators in London this weekend.

Marlet secures €74m for Dundrum development

Marlet Property Group has secured €74 million in funding from House Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), the State residential development financing agency, to build a 253-unit development in Dundrum, south Dublin, the Sunday Times reports.


The facility is the first to be granted under the Momentum Fund, a new “step-in” scheme whereby the agency fills gaps left in the lending market by banks. The fund was set up in response to the impact of Covid-19.

Limit sought on pre-paid Mastercard gift cards

Irish gift card company FromMe2You has written to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Revenue seeking limits on the use of pre-paid Mastercard gift cards in a scheme that allows workers receive a tax-free gift of €500, according to the Sunday Independent.

FromMe2You chairman Cormac Tobin said that such pre-paid cards can be used on international websites, while traditional gift cards are used in local shops and sites to the benefit of the Irish economy.

Jump in delivery workers signed up to Gigable app

Irish-owned app Gigable, aimed at gig economy workers seeking delivery jobs, expects to sign up almost 30,000 people by year-end as Covid-19 boosts restaurant deliveries and the demand for drivers in Ireland and Britain, reports the Business Post.

John Ryan, founder of the company, said the number is up from 7,000 since before the pandemic took hold and growth accelerated as restaurants sought freelance drivers. The company signed an agreement in August with Foodhub, a British competitor to Deliveroo, and Just Eat, with 11,000 takeaway restaurants on its platform.

Change to VAT refund scheme could cost 1,000 jobs

A plan by the Government to limit a VAT refund scheme to purchases above €175 could cost more than 1,000 jobs in the hard-hit retail sector, reports the Sunday Independent. That is according to analysis by economist Jim Power, compiled on behalf of an alliance of independent retailers.

Retailers said the move to amend the retail export scheme as a result of Brexit would be a “body blow” to tourism. At present, the scheme allows a tourist from outside the EU to claim a refund on VAT charged on goods purchased in the Republic, but the Brexit Bill will amend this to exclude all purchases of less than €175.

Gowan Group profits surge

The Gowan Group is expected to enjoy a strong trading performance this year thanks to a rising market share for Peugeot and a surge in the sale of domestic appliances, according to the Sunday Times.

The group distributes Peugeot, Honda and Opel cars as well as household appliance brands including Shark, NordMende and Neff. It reported earnings before interest, tax and write-offs of €8.9 million for 2019, up 18 per cent, while sales rose 6 per cent to €238 million, newly filed accounts show.