The Restaurant Association of Ireland meeting in Dublin today will discuss the shortage of trained chefs in Ireland and call for the retention of the 9% tourism VAT rate.

The association says that with Government help, it will create 4,000 new apprenticeships over four years to tackle the shortage in chefs facing the industry.

According to CEO Adrian Cummins, there are only 150 chefs in training in colleges annually, despite the potential vacancies of double or treble that amount.

The RAI says it will work with the Department of Social Protection, Fáilte Ireland and FÁS to implement the scheme.

The association is also calling on Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar to retain the tourism VAT rate at 9%, which it said has helped restaurants create jobs.

30% of restaurants surveyed by the RAI directly attributed the VAT reduction to hiring new staff.

Other issues to be discussed include concerns about the re-introduction of Joint Labour Committees and the cost of implementing calorie counts on menus.