Think Tank Rejects Restaurant Plan

The Tasc 'think tank' has rejected arguments by the Restaurants Association of Ireland in support of cutting the minimum wage in the restaurants sector.

The agency, which promotes economic equality, says the abolition of wage agreements for restaurant workers will heighten inequality and depress consumer demand. Removing the pay scales would mean 'a reduction of just 61 cent per customer for a meal costing €60 for two', it claims.

The exchequer would lose about €1,143 for every full-time general worker whose wage was reduced to the statutory minimum said Sinéad Pentony, Tasc’s head of policy. 'An across-the-board 8 per cent cut in wages in the hospitality sector will cut consumer spending by approximately €170 million', she told the 'Irish Times'.

As an alternative to lower wages, Tasc recommends a temporary reduction in VAT and excise taxes for restaurants. The report also suggests the Government could issue 'time-limited consumer vouchers to all adults to be redeemed at restaurants'.

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McKenna Urges €10 Meals

Irish restaurant customers want a single course meal with a glass of wine for €10, journalist John McKenna claimed at the launch of his 2010 ‘Bridgestone Irish Food Guide’.
He added that the recession had created places countrywide which offer good food at keen prices.
‘Until recently, there was money there for people to go out and they got the taste for it. Now they want that quality but they also want the value. And if you can give them that, you're flying'’, he told restaurateurs.

In an introduction to the Guide, he says that Ireland has been ‘economically colonised’ and the relationship between farmers and multinational supermarkets is one of ‘master and slave.’

The new Guide has 1,500 entries- 300 more than last year. Among its new ‘stand out restaurants’ it lists Pichet in Dublin, Restaurant 1014 in Clontarf, Kennedy’s Deli Café in Fairview, Viewmount House in Longford and An Cruibin in Cork

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Value Restaurants Honoured

While Ireland’s ‘Big Five’ Michelin Star restaurants retained their status this year the 2010 Guide includes some interesting Irish additions to its ‘Bib Gourmand’ list of restaurants offering ‘good food at moderate prices.’ Newcomers include three Dublin restaurants – La Maison in Castlemarket Street, Trichet in Trinity Street and The Pig’s Ear in Nassau Street and there are also newcomers in Adare (White Sage), Dundalk (Rosso), Lisdoonvarna (Wild Honey Inn) and Lismore (O’Brien’s Chop House). These are in addition ‘BG’ restaurants who have retained their ranking and include Café Hans in Cashel, Sha Rie Bistro in Clonegal, Co. Carlow, The Chart House in Dingle, Aldridge Lodge in Duncannon, Good Things Café in Durrus, Casino House in Kilbrittan, Co. Cork and Fishy Fishy Café in Kinsale.

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Residence in Receivership

A receiver has been appointed by Zurich Bank to the company which operated ‘Residence’, the private members’ club on St Stephen’s Green Dublin, after the High Court refused to approve the appointment of an Examiner.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly ordered that the judgment and papers in the case be referred to the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The Judge was strongly critical of a failure on the part of the company to pay PAYE and PRSI monies collected from employees, to the Revenue Commissioners.

The judge also said he was ‘extremely sceptical’ about  positive opinions by an independent accountant and the interim examiner of the prospects for survival of the club, which has liabilities of more than €4m.

On the day following the Residence company receivership, Auldcarn Ltd., another company owned by restaurateurs Christian and Simon Stokes went  into liquidation with debts of €2.3m., including a tax bill of almost €1m.. A statement of affairs shows the company has no realisable assets from which the debts can be paid.

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