Alcohol consumption continues falling

Alcohol consumption here showed a further decrease last year according to the latest figures from the Revenue Commissioners' alcohol clearance data.

The decrease continues a long-term trend of consumption decline over the last 15 years.

DCU Economist Tony Foley has used the CSO Population and Migration Estimates as well as the Revenue Commissioners’ alcohol clearance figures to conclude that alcohol consumption fell another 0.7% between 2014 and 2015.

In his paper Estimate of Alcohol Consumption per Adult in 2015, he explains that this is consistent with the long-term trend of decline in alcohol consumption that has been evident since 2001.

“The level and trend in average alcohol consumption are important elements in public policy evaluation and design,” he commented, “Average per adult alcohol consumption decreased by 0.7% in 2015 compared with 2014 from 11.086 Litres Per Annum to 11.013 LPA. It’s useful to put the Irish figure into an international perspective. The latest OECD Health Statistics reports an OECD average alcohol consumption for 2013 or latest year of 8.8 LPA; Ireland in this database is measured as 10.6 LPA.

“The OECD average has been identified as a policy target for Ireland. However, this is not necessarily appropriate,” he continued, “The OECD database includes far distant and culturally specific countries such as Turkey and Israel with very low alcohol consumption of around 2.6 and 1.4 LPA respectively and several other countries with ‘lowish’ consumption such as Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico and USA. The non-EU countries in the database have an average consumption of 7.1 LPA. The 21 EU members included in the OECD database have an average consumption of 9.9 compared to the 10.6 recorded in the database for Ireland. Ireland is not widely out of line with this. These figures exclude unrecorded consumption which can be relatively high in some countries.”

France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia and Poland all have higher alcohol consumption levels than Ireland.

“When framing public policy issues pertaining to alcohol, it is important that we rely on an appropriate fact base,” stated Maggie Timoney, Chair of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland and Chief Executive of Heineken Ireland, “The drinks industry is committed to working with the Government in the context of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill to find workable and effective solutions to address misuse,” she concluded.



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