Call for action as Ireland remains most expensive EU country to buy alcohol

We are also the second most expensive country in which to buy tobacco

Alcohol, Ireland, Eurostat, tobacco, prices, DIGI, most expensive, GDP

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Ireland remains the most expensive European Union country in which to buy alcohol.

New Eurostat figures show that prices here are at 175% of the EU average.

Ireland is also 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 fourth highest in the EU - at 119% of the EU average.

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.

At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest price levels were seen in Poland (63%), Romania (64%), Bulgaria (70%), Lithuania (78%), the Czech Republic and Hungary (both 79%).

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has called for the reversal of excise duty on alcohol in light of the new figures.

The group - made up of restaurants, hotels, pubs, independent off-licences and suppliers - has said that the high price of alcohol in Ireland is "directly related to the unfair excise rate."

Donall O'Keeffe, DIGI secretary, 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," he added.

Ireland sees second highest GDP rate

The new figures also show that in 2015, Ireland recorded the second highest per capita GDP rate in the EU - at 145% of the average.

Luxembourg had the highest per capita GDP 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 was highest followed by Germany (124%), Austria (119%) and the UK (116%). Bulgaria (51%).

Croatia and Romania (both 58%) were lowest.

AIC is made up 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.