Ireland tops EU alcohol spending

Thursday 01 June 2006 22.40
Alcohol - Call to address levels of consumption
Alcohol - Call to address levels of consumption

A report carried out by the European Commission has said a higher proportion of income in Ireland is spent on alcohol than in any other European Union country.

The report, published this morning, also states that Irish people are the biggest binge drinkers in the EU.

Alcohol Action Ireland said that the report showed that alcohol consumption needed to be addressed urgently.

The survey shows that we are spending three times more than any other country and ten times more than Greece.

Young Irish people also top their table for binge drinking. The report shows 32% of 15 and 16-year-olds had binge drunk three or more times in the month.

The Netherlands is second on that table with 28%.

Household alcohol spending is three times more than any European household. We spend on average €1,675 on alcohol - followed by Denmark which spends €531.

The report shows that alcohol is a key cause of harm to people other than the drinker, including some 60,000 underweight births throughout Europe, 10,000 'innocent' deaths that occur to bystanders or passengers from drink drivers and up to 2,000 murders that occur each year.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has strongly criticised the report, saying much of the findings were based on outdated information.

The DIGI also said that the fact that Ireland has the highest levels of tax on alcohol of any EU country partly explained the high spending levels.

A spokesman said the report was another attempt by the 'anti-alcohol lobby to demonise the alcohol industry and to pressure policy makers into introducing draconian measures to tackle a serious but limited problem'.