Letters to the Editor: ‘The taxing question – why is the State crippling businesses with a VAT hike?’


Tough times: Small businesses barely survived the recession – this new hike could see them shed jobs
Tough times: Small businesses barely survived the recession – this new hike could see them shed jobs

The increased VAT rate for the hospitality and hairdressing sectors from 9pc to 13.5pc from January 1 will have an adverse effect on many small and medium-sized businesses across the State.

In the event of a hard Brexit, the Border region in particular and along the western sea-board in general will experience great difficulty in trying to stay afloat and attract new business. This is another blow for rural Ireland.

With many small, family run hotels, restaurants, pubs, hair salons and cafés having survived the lost decade, they now face an uphill struggle for survival in the years to come.

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This seems a very unfair extra tax on ordinary, hard-working people who get up early in the morning.

A colour, perm, shave, short back and sides and blow-dry in preparation for a dinner date or a weekend away in a decent hotel as a treat is now potentially out of reach for the ordinary Mary and Joe Soap.

Many small operators may be forced to make cutbacks and shed some staff. After so many small-business units were forced to close their doors the length and breadth of the land during the recession over the last 10 years, it is difficult to comprehend the thinking behind this move.

Perhaps the VAT on this sector of the business society should be re-named as ‘TKJT’ or in other words – ‘The Kill Joy Tax’.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

 

Ireland and Thatcher: whose word to take?

I read about the relationship between Margaret Thatcher and former Taoiseach Charles Haughey in recently released State papers with the prologue to ‘An Accidental Diplomat’ by Eamon Delaney in mind.

Mr Delaney was in the Irish Foreign Service from 1987 to 1995. His Prologue reads: ” I joined the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in 1987, a month before Charles J Haughey returned as Taoiseach, and one of my first tasks was to help the department in plotting against him. At the time, I was working in the department’s EU co-ordination section and I had to make contact with an incendiary group gathering in the basement of the Grey Door restaurant. Over a long and heavy lunch, embittered senior officials were drawing up ‘Documents of Resistance’.

“Coming into power, Haughey was proposing to abolish the department’s European affairs and the Northern Ireland committees and replace them with a committee in his own department.

“These two committees were the most important aspects of the DFA business and the mandarins were up in arms. Or at least, at this stage, up in cigars and brandies. Admittedly, mine was only a peripheral role, crossing over the Green to collect newer and more militant drafts of this revolutionary Bull.”

He entitles this chapter ‘Dining against the Government’.

You can understand from this snippet from an eight-page prologue why one would be sceptical about the department’s reports, particularly as Delaney points out that the previous Taoiseach regarded the DFA “almost as a personal fiefdom, having presided over its expansion in the early 1970s as a dynamic foreign minister”.

But when I want to know what Ms Thatcher thought of Mr Haughey, I prefer to consult her memoir ‘The Downing Street Years’ rather than DFA state papers.

On the question of Garret FitzGerald, Mr Haughey’s predecessor, she states: “It became apparent that Dr FitzGerald’s government did not speak with a single voice. At various times and with various degrees of specificity, they seemed to offering to amend Article 2 and Article 3 of the Irish Constitution (page 395).” In relation to the Anglo Irish Agreement: “Dr FitzGerald, by publicly exaggerating the powers which they had got, were in fact adding fuel to the flames (page 404).” In relation to Mr Haughey: “I found him easy to get on with, less talkative and more realistic than Garret FitzGerald. Surprisingly perhaps, though we were both pretty outspoken, we left our meetings without any rancour or ill-will. Mr Haughey knew where I stood. He had as it turned out taken seriously some of what I said about the shortcoming of Irish security co-operation. I understood him better perhaps than I ever did Garret FitzGerald (page 410).”

Hugh Duffy

Cleggan, Co Galway

 

Less reliance on UK market is silver lining

Richard Curran’s essay (Irish Independent, yesterday) is spot on in every line. His second-last paragraph sums up the lackadaisical attitude of Irish politicians and industrialists since joining the EEC in 1973.

“The Government must invest in infrastructure, from ports and shipping routes, to greater funding supports for exporters.” To this list, I would add, the entire national rail system, particularly from the west coast to the ports of Dublin, Waterford and Cork.

The silver lining of Brexit for Ireland will be the compelling need for reconsideration by politicians, civil service and industry to make the Irish Republic less reliant on the ‘safe and easy’ UK market. I respectfully suggest those in this triad accept the challenge of President John F Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

 

Wider investigation needed in scandals

When will there be a comprehensive investigation into the part played by all political parties, the Garda and the judiciary in the whole area of the industrial schools, Magdalene laundries, mother and baby homes, the selling of babies abroad and the wholesale abuse of women and children by State agencies?

We have rightly had investigations into the Catholic Church and reports, but never a full investigation into various Taoisigh, presidents and politicians from all parties, members of the judiciary and gardaí regarding their dealings with the Church in the above since the foundation of the State.

All blame has been shifted to the Church, but false birth certs, travel documents, custody orders, committal to industrial schools and so on are issued by politicians, State departments and the judiciary. What was our State broadcaster RTÉ’s input down the years?

Jo Dixon

Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan

Irish Independent

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