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Alcohol Consumption In Ireland Continues To Decline

Posted on 08 March 2013

New figures from the Revenue Commissioners show that alcohol consumption in Ireland declined once again in 2012, thus continuing a trend of falling consumption levels evident since 2001 according to a paper, released today, commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI). 

Alcohol consumption in Ireland declined by 12.5% between the years 2007 and 2012, and has fallen by 19.1% since consumption levels peaked in 2001. The current average consumption levels are at 11.681 litres of alcohol per adult per annum (lpa). A decrease of 0.5% on last year's figure of 11.743 lpa. In 2001, the lpa was 14.44. 

The paper, by Anthony Foley of Dublin City University Business School, used data from the CSO Population and Migration Estimates for April 2012 (September 2012) and the Revenue Commissioners' alcohol clearances data (the 2012 figures were made available in March 2013). The paper also includes a revision of previous consumption estimates based on the revised CSO population estimates. 

The Chairperson of DIGI and Diageo's European Corporate Relations Director, Peter O'Brien said: 'Consumption of alcohol in Ireland has been declining for over a decade with average Irish consumption now at 11.681 litres per adult. Weakness in the domestic economy and the continued pressure on discretionary income are clearly having a negative effect on the drinks sector. In addition there has been a substantial societal shift in many areas leading to reduced alcohol consumption, increasingly we are seeing people opting to dine out, and people are choosing to enjoy alcohol as an accompaniment to food. Education initiatives, like the programme, have been responsible for promoting the responsible use of alcohol, while at the same time challenging anti-social drinking behaviours.'  

The author of the report, Anthony Foley, commented: 'The paper has two objectives; to calculate the 2012 level of average per adult consumption of alcohol and to present revised estimates for the period since 2007 based on the revised CSO population estimates for those years. The level and trend in average alcohol consumption are important elements in policy evaluation and design. Average per adult alcohol consumption declined slightly in 2012 compared with 2011 from 11.743 lpa to 11.681 lpa, a decrease of 0.5%. Between 2007 and 2012 average per adult consumption declined by 12.5% based on the revised population figures.'

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