herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

wine sellers have something to cheer

Small business owners Ronnie and Helena Caraher were unhappy the Budget failed to help wine sellers but they also felt "slight relief".

The couple own Clontarf Wines, a busy wine shop in Dublin which they run with five part-time staff.

"In Ireland, the excise duty on wine is six times higher than the average paid in the EU," said Ronnie (56).

"Helena and I were worried that the Government were contemplating pushing excise on wine even higher still.

"When no increase was announced, I felt the way a guy feels when someone stops slapping him around the head.

outrageous

"It is still outrageous that Irish people have to go on paying six times more excise on wine that the rest of Europe."

The Carahers, who only sell wine in their Dublin shop, said they were also disappointed that the Minister for Finance did not announce a Budget Day measure to outlaw below cost selling of alcohol.

"Supermarkets have been selling wine and other alcohol below cost which means they can claim tax back. Selling alcohol is a privilege, not a right. I believe selling alcohol that way is an abuse of that privilege," he said.

As employers, they understood disappointment caused by the decision to increase what employers pay in USC charges at the higher rates, although it did not affect them personally.

The couple, who have two adult children, left their secure bank jobs to pursue careers in wine selling. They are only the second married couple to have gained diplomas in wine knowledge from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and give courses in wine appreciation at their Clontarf Road shop.

The off-licence sector had previously warned that jobs would be lost in the sector if excise duty was increased further in the Budget.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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