Alcohol charity warns of ‘cheap booze’ ahead of Leaving Cert celebrations

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, congratulated the country’s 59,000 Leaving Cert students but reminded them in the run-up to celebrations that they have a choice about whether to drink and if they do drink to remember – there can be a high cost for cheap alcohol.

Charity Director Fiona Ryan said: “The Leaving Cert can be a very emotional time for those getting results. We would encourage parents to ask their teens how they’re feeling about their results. Even students getting good results can sometimes experience a sense of anti-climax. Adding alcohol into an emotional mix can make it very difficult for young people to cope – alcohol increases emotional volatility and impacts on someone’s ability to make decisions.”

Ms Ryan highlighted the dangers of cut-price alcohol with cans of beer being sold for as little as 66c each and bottles of vodka retailing for less than €12, particularly in the context of “pre-loading” and house parties. The appeal comes after new figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that alcohol prices in Ireland have fallen by 4.6 per cent over the past twelve months.

Director Fiona Ryan said: “With the price of alcohol at the moment it is possible to get drunk for as little as €6. Certainly, it’s possible for women to reach their low risk drinking limit for just €6.30 a week and men can do so for under €10.

“Ireland needs to seriously consider a minimum pricing initiative – a price under which alcohol cannot be sold.

“We have significant problems with drunkenness among young people and we know that cheap alcohol is particularly appealing to young people.   If you consider that the Office of Tobacco Control estimated that the average Irish 16 to 17-year-old was spending around €20 a week on alcohol, then €20 has the potential to buy a lot more alcohol that it used to. The price of alcohol might be cheaper but the costs in terms of health and lives could be very high for individual teenagers and their families.”

Ms Ryan again urged parents to talk with their teenagers ahead of celebrations and ask basic questions such as:

  • How they are feeling – Leaving Cert results can be an emotional time?
  • Are you planning on drinking?
  • Who are you going to be with?
  • How are you getting there and back?
  • What time are you planning on being home?

For parents who want more information on talking to their children about drinking, go to in the Alcohol and You section.


Note to Editor:

The most recent survey of drinking among European 15 and 16-year-olds*, found that:

– There is still a major issue about drunkenness in Ireland. Over half (54%) of 15 and 16-year-olds in Ireland reported being drunk at some time in their lives
– The vast majority (86%) of Irish students have experimented with alcohol by the age of 16
– Almost one quarter of Irish adolescents have drunk alcohol 40 times or more in their lifetime
– A majority (about three-quarters) of Irish 15 and 16-year-olds thought it would be easy for them to obtain alcoholic beverages
– A remarkably large percentage of Irish teenagers had tried alcohol in their primary school years (21% in the case of beer)
– Some 7 % of Irish students were drunk for the first time by the age of 12

*The European Schools Project for Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) survey takes place every four years in 35 European countries. The goal of the ESPAD survey is to monitor trends in alcohol and other drug use among 15 and 16-year-olds. The most recent survey took place in 2007.

All statistics available from the Alcohol Action Ireland website,

For further information or comment contact:

Alcohol Action Ireland Communications Officer Cathy Gray (01) 878 0610/   087 995 0186