Carthy calls for removal of VAT on Defibrillators
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carty has this week called on the European Commission to allow governments to abolish VAT charges for important community facilities such as the provision of defibrillators.
In a letter to the Commissioner for Tax and Customs, Pierre Moscovici, Carthy cited the charging of high rates of VAT on external defibrillators for community use as an area that required urgent attention.
The Midlands North West MEP said,
“The EU VAT Directive lists all goods and services which may be exempt or subject to lower rates of VAT in the different EU countries. Defibrillators are not included on the list, therefore in Ireland these important facilities cost an additional 23%.
“This is an issue that has affected community groups, sporting clubs and other organisations seeking to buy this life-saving equipment, for years now. The same issue has been raised by mountain and aqua rescue groups who are similarly charged VAT on life-saving equipment.
“The Irish Heart Foundation estimates that sudden cardiac death occurs in 5,000 deaths in Ireland each year and confirms that defibrillators have the potential to increase survival rates. The importance of having more of these devices in communities around Ireland cannot be emphasised enough.
“When questioned on this issue in 2013, the Irish Government shirked responsibility, saying that its hands were tied by the Commission. The Commission in turn said that the Government was free to offer grants to community groups to cover the cost of these defibrillators. The Government, however, is yet to act on this.
“Therefore, I have also written to the Minister to request that such a fund or scheme be set up immediately so that an equivalent of paying the lower VAT rate be made available to groups buying defibrillators.
“Awaiting a response from the Commissioner and Minister Noonan, I will continue to lobby the Irish Government to support the Commission’s recent proposals which could see the powers to set VAT rates reverted completely to Ireland. Sinn Féin strongly believes that these matters can and should be taken at national level, closer to where these services and goods are consumed.”