Financial Resolutions. - Financial Resolution No. 5: Customs and Excise—Beer.

Wednesday, 7 May 1969

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 240 No. 5

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Minister for Finance (Mr. Haughey): Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I move:

(1) That in this Resolution “the Act of 1968” means the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1968 (No. 37 of 1968).

(2) That in lieu of the duty of excise imposed by section 2 (1) of the Act of 1968, there shall be charged, levied and paid on all beer brewed within the State on or after the 8th day of May, 1969, a duty of excise at the rate of twenty-seven pounds, three shillings and nine pence for every thirty-six gallons of worts of a specific gravity of one thousand and fifty degrees.

[730] (3) That in lieu of the duty of customs imposed by section 2 (2) of the Act of 1968, there shall, as on and from the 8th day of May, 1969, be charged, levied and paid on all beer of any description imported into the State, a duty of customs at the rate of twenty-seven pounds, four shillings and three pence for every thirty-six gallons of beer of which the worts were before fermentation of a specific gravity of one thousand and fifty-five degrees.

(4) That there shall be allowed and paid on the exportation as merchandise or the shipment for use as stores of beer on which it is shown, to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners, that the duty imposed by paragraph (2) or paragraph (3) of this Resolution has been paid, a drawback calculated according to the original specific gravity of the beer, at the rate of twenty-seven pounds and four shillings on every thirty-six gallons of beer of which the original specific gravity was one thousand and fifty-five degrees.

(5) That where, in the case of beer which is chargeable with the duty imposed by paragraph (2) or paragraph (3) of this Resolution or in the case of beer on which drawback under paragraph (4) of this Resolution is payable, the specific gravity of the beer is not one thousand and fifty-five degrees, the duty or drawback shall be varied proportionately.

(6) That section 24 of the Finance Act, 1933 (No. 15 of 1933), shall not apply or have effect in relation to the duty of customs to which this Resolution refers.

(7) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We have here the pint drinker.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  At the moment he pays 1/2½d tax on every pint he drinks and after this Financial Resolution is passed he will pay 1/4½d.

[731]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  What about the turnover tax?

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  Does the 1/2½d include turnover tax? I thought it was 1/3d.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  No.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  We have here a section of the community, publicans, people like myself who are engaged in collecting a great deal of revenue for the Minister with very little compensation for doing so. Much as it may please us to collect money for him at the same time we must look at the impact of this. There is £2.6 million being collected from the pint drinkers. We were all concerned a while ago, and rightly so, about many of our old age pensioners, our lower paid workers and others. A man who takes three or four pints a day—there is nothing wrong with that—will pay 4/- extra.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I could never drink more than two pints.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I am sure the Minister would not be drinking pints. He would be drinking some other type of drink. It would be something small.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Come down to Clontarf any evening and I will have one with you.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Minister once invited the Deputy to see his chickens.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  In my constituency we have the best pint in Ireland.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It is not too bad around ours. In any case we have to go away from the price we pay and the type of drink we get and deal with Resolution No. 5.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  What do you charge?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Certainly Deputy Murphy would not like to be out of order.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  In any case, we have had many representations about this from the Vintners Association and [732] from the people who supply so much of this money, the consumers of drink. I find nothing wrong with a person taking a few drinks. It is only when drink is taken to excess, as, unfortunately, happens in a small percentage of cases, that it is harmful. It is an old Irish tradition whether at a christening, a wedding or a wake that you have a supply of drink. If the Minister is here next year and I am doubtful of that——

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Not wishing him any harm.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I wish him no personal harm but politically I would say the Minister's fortune is about to change.

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  We are on the upgrade.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  On the downgrade I would say. We must get away from this idea of taxing drink. I think the Minister supports this. I know I can see some of you smiling over there. He is getting an extra 2d. on every pint which is consumed at the publicans counter whether it is in Dublin or any part of rural Ireland. If by any chance you are Minister for Finance next year, although I am sure you will not as this Dáil could not last that long. I suppose you will try to put something on it again. Forget about that. We must change our tax structure. Those who drink and smoke are paying through their consumption of drink and cigarettes all these millions, which, the Minister says, help others. Some of these people who take a few pints are not very wealthy people. They often have to work hard for this money. As a result of this Budget a man will find that he will only have a pint a day for his £1. That is too much of an impact on him.

Mr. P.J. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  I should like to intervene and ask what does the Deputy pay for the pint in his premises?

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Order.

Question put and agreed to.


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