Wednesday, 7 May 1969
Dáil Eireann Debate
(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.
 (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.
(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: 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. M.P. Murphy: In any case, we have had many representations about this from the Vintners Association and  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. M.P. 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.
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