Mullooly: ‘Use EU legislation to lower VAT rate of small restaurants and cafés’

Ciaran Mullooly, Independent Ireland’s candidate for member of the European Parliament (MEP) in the Midlands-North-West constituency, has called for the urgent reinstatement of the 9% VAT rate for small, independent restaurants and cafés.

As closures of vital community businesses continue at an alarming rate of two per day across the country, Mullooly has urged the Irish Government to leverage the updated EU VAT Directive to provide immediate relief.

For nearly a year, the debate over whether to split the VAT rate to allow the hospitality sector’s food element to return to 9% with the accommodation element remaining at 13.5% has overshadowed the critical need for action.

Mullooly has argued that a lack of basic understanding of EU VAT law is now harming the hospitality industry.

“The updated EU VAT Directive allows for Member States to apply different VAT rates to restaurant and catering services versus accommodation services, offering the flexibility needed to reintroduce a 9% VAT rate specifically for food-led businesses,” the Independent Ireland candidate said.

“The EU VAT Directive provides a clear legislative pathway for differentiating VAT rates within the hospitality sector,” he added.

“The Irish Government is in a position to lower the 9% VAT rate for restaurant and catering services while maintaining the 13.5% rate for accommodation services. This is necessary to save our struggling small businesses.

“Our hospitality sector is integral to the fabric of Irish society. By taking advantage of the flexibility offered by the EU VAT Directive, we can ensure that our local restaurants and cafés not only survive but thrive,” Mullooly stated.

“It cannot be stressed enough that the current crisis facing our hospitality sector is not just an economic issue but also a social one.

“Our communities are being deprived of the local restaurants and cafés that serve as essential meeting places for socialising, working and celebrating significant milestones. It’s beyond time that the Irish Government takes decisive action”.