Excise on wine six times EU average
Irish people pay almost 600pc more excise duty on wine than most other Europeans, a Dublin wine retailer has claimed.
"It's outrageous that wine excise duties here are almost six times higher than the EU average. It needs to be reduced in the coming Budget," said Ronnie Caraher, owner of Clontarf Wines.
Mr Caraher, who runs an independent wine shop in Clontarf Road, said people pay a bigger proportion of excise and tax on cheaper wines than on more expensive ones.
Evelyn Jones, speaking for the National Off-Licence Association, said a reversal of the increases in excise duty would protect the 5,800 jobs in the sector. Some 3,000 jobs have been lost since 2008, she added.
Many off-licences are "perilously close to commercial failure" as a result of the last two Budgets, said Ms Jones, who is chairperson of the association.
More than 500 off-licences have closed or lapsed since 2008 and, if excise duty is further increased, more than 1,000 more jobs will go.
If the increases imposed in the last two Budgets were reversed in the upcoming Budget, more than 900 jobs could be created, she claimed.
As well as paying 576pc more excise duty than the EU average on wine, Irish consumers pay 280pc more excise on beer and 230pc more on spirits.
Overall, the Irish pay the highest tax on wine in the EU, the second highest on cider and the third highest on spirits and beer.
A survey of association members showed 49pc considered excise the main cause of their businesses' decline and found more than half said they would struggle to survive if it increases.