Publicans seek tax break for overnight accommodation

Shane Ross meets Kerry vintners to discuss proposal to provide rooms for pub customers

 Minister for Tourism Shane Ross has visited Co Kerry. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Tourism Shane Ross has visited Co Kerry. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Publicans in Kerry are seeking the introduction of a new tax incentive to provide overnight accommodation to customers.

A delegation of Kerry vintners met Minister for Tourism Shane Ross in the Horseshoe Bar in Listowel this week to discuss the proposal.

Mr Ross said it was “a very constructive and mature meeting”, and it allowed him to gain a better understanding of the problems of rural pubs.

Chairman of the Kerry vintners Ger Counihan who led the delegation said they wanted the Minister to “think outside the box” on rural Ireland.

Busing people to and from rural pubs in towns and villages had been tried in Killorglin 20 years ago and it had not worked, he said.

A 15-minute journey could take an hour and a half delivering people to villages.

The delegation called for a tax incentive so pubs could offer rooms and provide B&B accommodation for clients.

This would enable the pubs to attract small groups for parties, and allow tourists have a few drinks and stay over.

Mr Ross said: “It was a really useful meeting . . . We get accused sometimes if we are from Dublin, that people say, ‘Look, we don’t understand rural life’.

“They certainly talked about incentives for accommodation and the 9 per cent VAT rate for hospitality.”

Better understanding

The Minister said he would return to Dublin with a better understanding of rural Ireland after the whirlwind “two-day” tour of Kerry during which he was driven around by Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae.

Mr Ross, an Independent TD for Dublin Rathdown, spoke on Thursday afternoon as he left the department’s Killarney offices – decentralised in 2008 – to be chauffeured away in Mr Healy-Rae’s waiting Skoda.

“We get accused sometimes if we are from Dublin, that people say, ‘Look, we don’t understand rural life. That’s why I am here meeting the vintners and others because Michael Healy-Rae asked me to come down get that [rural] perception,” Mr Ross said.

During his two-day visit, Mr Ross also met with senior county officials and the mayor of Kerry, Michael O’Shea, in Kerry airport, along with business representatives in Tralee.