Vintners call to reduce SEO cost

Bringing the vastly increased cost of Special Exemption Orders back into line with former prices was one of the issues raised at this year’s VFI AGM in Hotel Kilkenny.

At the conference Cork’s Con Dennehy proposed that the VFI seek a reduction in SEO costs. While he doesn’t run a late bar himself he nevertheless sees the need for them.

“Any town or city pub depends on late night venues,” he said, “We’re more and more seeing ‘hub’ drinking by people who come into town for the holistic value that a town or city has to offer and one of these is the late-night venue.”

The present cost of a SEO works out at around €410 for an extra hour down the country – Dublin enjoys two extra hours – plus solicitor’s costs, he pointed out and wondered if senior Federation officials could request a return to the former costs setup for an SEO when next meeting with Government “… as late night venues are part-and-parcel of bringing people into towns”.

In seconding the motion Christy Walsh from Kerry pointed out that the Government wants to see The Gathering this year being a touristic success…..

It was also mooted as to whether or not the Government had enjoyed diminishing returns from such a prohibitive price for an SEO.

VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben had some figures to hand which indicated that the price hike had not led to diminishing returns from a Treasury perspective.

The SEO take in 2008 had been €16.54 million. In 2010 it had been €26.6 million, so it didn’t seem very likely that the Government would listen to the Federation on this.

However the motion was carried.

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