MEP Matt Carthy calls on the European Commission for Mountain Rescue VAT exemption
Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has again called for an exemption from VAT for mountain rescue teams and has questioned the European Commission about their intentions to support EU-wide legislation to this effect.
“Mountain Rescue Services save hundreds of lives every year and work with limited funding to make some of our most beautiful natural attractions accessible to all. With a network of 300 volunteers this services provides assistance 24/7 365 days a year.
“This service is an integral part of our tourism infrastructure and with an increase in tourism through the Wild Atlantic Way, Rescue Teams have noticed a rise in calls for assistance. Despite these increases these services are funded in full by contributions from the public and workers receive no remuneration despite regularly working in dangerous conditions. Shockingly, the rescue teams currently must pay VAT on all purchase of equipment used as part of rescue missions.
“Sea rescue services currently benefit from a wide-ranging VAT exemption. As an invaluable service in Rural Ireland we in Sinn Féin believe that this VAT exemption should also be extended to all of the state’s Mountain Rescue Teams. Its impact on the teams and for the wider public would be significant.
“These teams should not only be supported but should be championed by government and EU institutions for their enormous value. As such I have put in a question to the Commission calling on them to harmonise the inequity in the current VAT exemptions as outlined in EU VAT Directive (2006/112/EC) Article 13. This is a campaign that I intend to work on until such stage as VAT on Mountain Rescue equipment is exempt".