Ireland is the most expensive country in the European Union in which to buy alcohol with prices at 175% of the EU average, according to new data from Eurostat.

The EU’s statistics agency also said Ireland is the second most expensive for tobacco at 189% of the EU average, with only the United Kingdom higher at 218%.

On average the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks in Ireland is, at 119% of the EU average, fourth highest in the EU.

Only Denmark (145%), Sweden (124%), Austria (120%) are more expensive.

Bread and cereals (111% of EU average), meat (106%) and milk, cheese and eggs (128%) also all cost above the EU average in Ireland.                                   

The data is based on a 2015 price survey covering 440 products across Europe.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) said the high price of alcohol in Ireland is directly related to the unfair excise rate and that this is a direct tax on jobs, tourism and consumers.

DIGI Secretary Donall O'Keeffe said: “Excise is a tax on jobs, it is a tax on tourism and it is a tax on Irish consumers.

"Excise increases in Budget 2012 and 2013 were applied at a time of economic crisis and now that we are moving towards recovery, a reversal should be applied, to take this heavy burden from consumers, tourists and businesses in the drinks and hospitality sector."

Meanwhile, Eurostat figures also show Ireland had the second highest per capita GDP in the EU in 2015.

Ireland’s per capita GDP last year was 145% of EU the average.

Luxembourg had the highest per capita GDP in the EU at 271% of the average, while Bulgaria (46%) had the lowest.

However, when it comes to Actual Individual Consumption (AIC) – which measures the material welfare of households – Ireland was at 95% of the EU average.

Luxembourg (137% of the EU average) was highest followed by Germany (124%), Austria (119%) and the UK (116%).

Bulgaria (51%), Croatia and Romania (both 58%) were lowest.

Actual Individual Consumption consists of goods and services actually consumed by individuals, irrespective of whether these goods and services are purchased and paid for by households, by government, or by non-profit organisations.