President’s Report – August 2023

President’s Report – August 2023

Welcome to your August newsletter, 

So last months opening of this same message was one of the of optimism. I noted the great weather we had just had over the month of June and I asked had our summer finally arrived, how wrong I was. Since that last message it has rained nearly every day here in the Lillywhite county and speaking to a lot you over the month I know it’s the same all over the country. Business was looking good up and until the end of June but the last 4 weeks have been similar to last year. Unfortunately, that’s not what any of us had hoped for, I was expecting business to kick on in July as it did in June but the weather has hampered any outdoor dining and left a, pardon the pun, “damp mood” around the place. People can’t even BBQ or meet up outdoors. The sun and good weather puts all of us in good spirits, in turn they travel in their droves out to pubs and restaurants. The days are long and business booms, but not this month. I’ve had a few farmers drowning into their pints about the awful conditions, for their sector it too can’t be easy. However, they tell me that we will have a great Autumn, good for us but a little late for them, if it arrives at all.

July 2023 Review

The Pressure is on, it’s another one of those occasions when it’s now or never. Our campaign to retain the 9% VAT has been progressive to date. Earlier this month myself and Adrian our CEO met with TDs, Senators and representatives from both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties in Government Buildings where we received great support for the retention of the Vat for food. We were there to make our case, outlining the devastating effect that any change of the vat will have on our sector. The mood in the room was one of support and most appreciated our concerns as many of them see it for themselves when they travel home to their own constituencies around the country. The Department of Finance are completely opposed to the idea of a separating Food from Accommodation in what we are now calling a decoupling of the Vat. They say it can’t be done but we gave examples of other countries within the EU where in fact they are spilt. It will therefore be political will, as it was the last time we campaigned for the Vat retention, to get what we need. I implore you as I have before to contact every local representative that you can. Plead your case and tell your own story, all of us have the same one. We will no longer be worrying about the staff we can’t hire, we simply will be closed as business will no longer be viable, the knock on effect of that is catastrophic and that’s just the facts of it. Our sector has been hit year on year since the start of the pandemic and yes the supports given by the government where great , they were designed to keep us open and our staff and their families supported, but now is not the time to add further costs to an already struggling sector. Many of our members also have to start repaying the warehoused Vat, not to mention the ending of the energy supports this month. What ever way you cut it we are being hammered at every corner and unless we all get that message out the consequences will be unimaginable.

Yours in catering, 

Paul Lenehan 

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