Irish Alcohol Consumption Has Fallen

Most of us are used to reports which state that Irish people are the biggest drinkers in Europe. However new research has found that the amount of alcohol being consumed by adults in Ireland has decreased in recent years.The research from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) is based on information supplied by the Central Statistics Office and the Revenue Commissioners. According to the findings, the amount of alcohol being consumed by adults fell by almost 7% between 2001 and 2005.

The figures show that in 2001, the equivalent of 11.28 litres of alcohol per person were consumed. By 2005, this had dropped to 10.62 litres per person. The amount of alcohol consumed per adult (defined as 15 years and older) fell by 6.8% during the same period.

The research also found that the amount of money spent on alcohol as a percentage of total consumer expenditure has also fallen. In 1996, the proportion of expenditure by consumers on alcohol was 10.8%. In 2004, that figure had dropped to 9%.

DIGI criticised a recent Oireachtas Committee report, which was based on alcohol figures from the 1990s.

“The committee report stated that Irish per capita consumption stood at some 15 litres of pure alcohol. It does not. It is 10.62 litres – some 30% less than claimed. The analysis of the problem of alcohol abuse needs to be based on sound and accurate data”, said DIGI chairman, Michael Patten.

However despite these figures, Irish people are still consuming more alcohol than many of our European neighbours and spending more money on it. A new report from the EU last month found that people here still spend a higher proportion of their income on alcohol than any other country in the 15 EU members states (prior to enlargement).

The report also found Irish people to be the biggest binge drinkers in the EU, particularly young people.

Government figures meanwhile estimate that alcohol-related problems cost the country around €2.65 billion per year. This figure covers such areas as alcohol-related health problems, drink-related road accidents and absenteeism.