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VAT on hurleys to remain at 23% despite ash dieback problems

There had been suggestions to ease the VAT rate given the current problems with the killer tree disease.

Image: Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

THE VAT CHARGED on hurleys will not be reduced despite the hardship being placed on hurley makers because of the continuing spread of ash dieback.

In a recent parliamentary question, the Finance Minister dismissed Deputy Michael McNamara’s suggestion to reduce the 23 per cent rate in light of the current problems with the fungus, Chalara fraxinea.

“A change in VAT rates must be in compliance with the EU VAT Directive,” explained Michael Noonan.

Any exceptions can only be permitted in “very limited circumstances”, he added.

“The Directive does not provide for a reduction in the standard rate for the supply of hurleys.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture confirmed that the first case of the killer tree disease had been found in a native Irish hedgerow in Leitrim.

Between October 2012 and that discovery, 96 other cases of the fungus were identified in foreign-grown trees during a major survey.

The government has asked officials to put a comprehensive eradication plan into place immediately.

Each year, about 2,200 cubic metres of ash is used to make about 700,000 hurleys. The vast majority (70 per cent) of the wood is imported but this activity has been slowed because of restrictions put in place because of the outbreak of the disease.

The programme for the All-Ireland Hurling Final replay between Clare and Cork featured a one-page advertisement asking fans to be cognisant of the symptoms of ash dieback.

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In addition the GAA have included an article in their monthly newsletter that goes out to all the clubs in the country in an effort to raise awareness.

Related: First case of killer tree disease found in native Irish hedgerow

Read: Noonan confirms VAT for hospitality sector to stay at 9 per cent

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