The survey of 7,487 people aged 15 or more found that three-quarters had drunk alcohol in the past year, with over half (54%) of drinkers drinking at least once a week and with 32% of drinkers drinking on a number of days each week.
The proportion of the population that drinks alcohol has remained fairly steady at around 76% since 2015
Men are more likely than women to drink alcohol (79% and 74% respectively) but no such difference exists among those aged 15 to 24 and 35 to 44.
Almost two out of every three (61%) men who drink do so at least once a week and 46% of women drink this frequently.
Older drinkers are more likely to drink more frequently. 63% of those aged 65 and older who drink do so at least once a week and 42% do so on more than one day a week. This compares to 43% and 21% respectively among those aged under 35.
The report also found that two in five (39%) drinkers “binge-drink” on a typical drinking occasion.
It found too that 22% of drinkers binge-drink at least once a week and 40% do so at least once a month.
Drinkers who’re unemployed are less likely to drink at least once a week than those working (49% and 56% respectively) but they’re more likely to binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion (61% and 43% respectively). The same pattern exists in terms of those living in more deprived areas. 50% of drinkers living in the most deprived areas drink at least once a week and 47% binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion. Among drinkers living in the most affluent areas, 63% drink at least once a week and 36% binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion.
Just over half (53%) of all young drinkers in Ireland binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion. This accounts for 36% of all young people in Ireland. In contrast, 38% of older drinkers binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion, accounting for 30% of all those aged over 25.
“Young men who drink are much more likely than young women to binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion while over two-thirds (70%) of young male drinkers binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion compared with 35% of young women who drink,” states the report, “Young men are also more likely to drink alcohol than young women and almost half (48%) of all young men in Ireland binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion compared with 23% of all young women.”
The report found that the majority (58%) of male drinkers binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion compared with 21% of female drinkers.
Those who’re younger are more likely to binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion.
52% of drinkers aged under 35 binge-drink in this way compared with 21% of drinkers aged 65 or older.
“Comparing drinking levels of young men and young women in Ireland to those older than 25 reveals a key pattern in terms of drinking behaviours,” states the report, “While drinking behaviour of young men is broadly similar to men older than 25, of whom 56% of drinkers and 46% overall binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion, young females are roughly twice as likely as older females to binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion.
Nineteen percent of female drinkers aged over 25, and 14% of all females aged over 25 binge-drink on a typical drinking occasion.
Such high levels of binge-drinking among the younger population pose a significant threat to health – both current and long-term. Changing drinking behaviours among this group is particularly key in encouraging a more positive relationship with alcohol among people in Ireland in the future.”
19% of drinkers indicate that during the past 12 months they’ve had feelings of guilt or remorse after drinking. 10% of drinkers have failed to do what was normally expected from them in the past 12 months because of drinking.
Among drinkers aged under 25, 39% have had a friend or family member tell them about things they did or said while drinking that they don’t remember. 33% have had feelings of guilt or remorse after drinking and 24% have failed to do what is normally expected of them.
According to the report’s conclusions, “While the vast majority of young people in Ireland indicate that they’re currently in good health, the health behaviours of many suggest that unless they change their behaviours in the future, their long-term health could be jeopardised.
“The high proportion of young people who drink at high risk levels is a significant concern and a particular focus is needed to change the nature of the relationship that young people in Ireland have with alcohol. The drinking behaviour of young women – and the fact that it replicates that of young men more closely than that among older groups of the population – warrants particular attention, given the increased health risks of drinking at this level. It is necessary to deepen the understanding and continue to tackle these behaviours before they become normalised lifetime habits.”