In 2015 per capita alcohol consumption in Ireland was 10.93 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15+
Here are some of the main research findings regarding alcohol consumption in Ireland:
- In 2015, the average Irish person aged 15+ drank 10.93 litres of pure alcohol, a slight decrease from 11 litres in 2014.
- When we consider the fact that at least one in five adults in Ireland don’t drink alcohol, it means that those who do drink are consuming significantly more than the per capita consumption figure shows.
- Ireland has the fourth highest level of alcohol consumption in the OECD region.
Alcohol consumption in Ireland almost trebled over four decades between 1960 (4.9 litres) and 2001 (14.3 litres).
- More than half (54%) of 18-75 year old drinkers were classified as harmful drinkers which equates to 1.35 million harmful drinkers in Ireland.
- 75% of all alcohol consumed in Ireland in 2013 was done so as part of a binge drinking session.
- One in five (21.1%) drinkers engage in binge drinking at least once a week.
- Almost two thirds (64.3%) of 18-24 year old drinkers consume six or more standard drinks on a typical drinking session.
- One third (33%) of men and more than one fifth (23%) of women who consumed alcohol in the week prior to the survey consumed more than the low-risk drinking guidelines of 17 standard drinks for men and 11 standard drinks for women.
- One in eight (13%) men and almost one in ten (9%) women drank their recommended weekly guidelines in one sitting in the week prior to the HRB survey.
- Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 28% of men and 22% of women consume their weekly guidelines in one sitting.
- Among Irish drinkers aged 18–75 years, 6.9% scored positive for dependence. This indicates that there were somewhere between 149,300 and 203,897 dependent drinkers aged 18–75 years in Ireland in 2013.
- Alcohol dependence was most common in 18–24-year-olds (14.7%) and least common among 65–75-year-olds (2.2%).
39% of all Irish people aged 15-years-old and over had engaged in binge drinking, or “heavy episodic drinking”, in the past 30 days.
This puts Ireland just behind Austria (40.5%) at the top of the 194 countries studied and well ahead of our neighbours in Britain (28%) when it comes to binge drinking.
When the 19% of non-drinkers in Ireland were excluded by the WHO, it found that almost two thirds of Irish men (62.4%) and one third of Irish women (33.1%) who drink alcohol had engaged in binge drinking in the previous month, almost half (48.2%) of all drinkers
- 76% of the Irish population drink alcohol, with 53% of drinkers doing so at least weekly.
- Men are more likely to drink than women, and those aged 25-64 are more likely to drink than those younger or older than this.
- Almost 4 in 10 (39%) drinkers binge drink on a typical drinking occasion with over a fifth (24%) doing so at least once a week.
- Lower levels of drinking in more deprived areas and lower social classes, but higher levels of binge drinking.
- 15% of those drinking at harmful levels felt in the past 12 months that their drinking harmed their health, and 22% felt they should cut down on their drinking.
The Healthy Ireland Survey found that “drinking to excess on a regular basis is commonplace throughout the population”. It states that, “Four out of ten drinkers in Ireland drink to harmful levels on a monthly basis, with over a fifth doing so on a weekly basis. This behaviour is evident throughout the population and is not specifically limited to particular groups. Given that 1 in 6 of those drinking at harmful levels felt in the past 12 months that their drinking harmed their health, it is likely that many of those drinking in that way are unaware of the risks associated with it”.