Ireland has the second highest food and drink prices in the European Union. New figures from Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, show Irish prices were 29% higher than the EU average.

By contrast British prices were 3% below the EU average. Denmark had the highest prices, almost 40% above the EU average.

Ireland recorded the highest prices in Europe for dairy produce such as milk and cheese - 37% above the average. UK dairy produce was 5% below the average price.

Ireland - which has claimed to be the biggest meat exporter in the northern hemisphere - had the fifth highest meat prices of the 27 countries surveyed. Consumers here paid 20% more than the EU average for meat.

Consumers in Britain - a major market for Irish beef exports - paid just 2% more than the EU average for their meat.

Ireland is also one of the most expensive places in Europe to buy your daily bread, with bread and cereal prices here at 32% higher than the average. British bread is 16% lower than the average

Alcohol prices in Ireland were 67% higher than the EU average - second only to Finland, where prices were found to be 70% above the average.

Alcohol prices are largely determined by the level of taxes and excise which governments apply to the product. The same is true of tobacco products.

Irish tobacco prices - at 217% of the average - were the most expensive in the EU. The lowest tobacco prices were found in Bulgaria, which was 46% of the average.

Overall the dearest countries to buy food and drink are Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Luxembourg and Belgium. Bulgaria, Romania and Poland are the cheapest.