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It costs less than €8 to reach the recommended weekly limit of alcohol in Ireland

That’s according to a survey conducted by Alcohol Action Ireland.

Image: Shutterstock/Zapylaiev Kostiantyn

MEN CAN REACH the low-risk weekly guidelines of alcohol for as little as €7.48 and women can for as little as €4.84 in Ireland, a new survey has suggested.

In its latest alcohol market review and price survey, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) said the price of alcohol in Ireland “demonstrates the remarkable affordability of alcohol to every day shoppers”. 

The survey suggested that alcohol can be bought at a low-cost from not just major retail operators, but across all levels of retail.

Conducted over seven days in July across four nationwide locations – two urban and two regional/rural centres – suggests that cider products remain the cheapest, strongest alcohol products available to the off-trade consumer. This remains the same as last year. 

Beer products are the second cheapest just ahead of wine and spirit products such as gin and whiskey.

The HSE low-risk weekly guidelines on alcohol consumption for healthy adults aged 18 to 65 are currently 17 standard drinks for men and 11 standard drinks for women.

The methodology deployed sought to establish the unit cost per standard which is set at 10g of pure alcohol in each product surveyed. So, for example, a 4.3% beer product in a 500ml volume container contains 1.7 standard drinks, while a 37.5% gin product in a 700ml contains 21 standard drinks.

A man consuming alcohol within the HSE low-risk guidelines can reach the weekly threshold for as little as €7.48 and women consuming alcohol can reach the weekly threshold for as little as €4.84, according to AAI.

More widely, and assessing the main alcohol products available, the Irish consumer can spend as little as:

  • 44c for a standard drink of cider
  • 46c for a standard drink of beer
  • 56c for a standard drink of wine
  • 67c for a standard drink of gin
  • 62c for a standard drink of vodka
  • 68c for a standard drink of whiskey

Minimum alcohol pricing

The report said that there is an urgent necessity to begin minimum pricing of alcohol products to ensure that the low cost of the strongest and cheapest alcohol will be tackled. 

It was announced earlier this month that a set price for alcohol is being pushed forward by Minister for Health Simon Harris “as soon as possible” after data was released last month about minimum unit pricing in Scotland. 

Results showed that alcohol consumption in Scotland has dropped to its lowest levels since the 1990s when records began after minimum unit pricing was brought in last year. 

“Our survey highlights the clear and urgent need for the government and the Minister for Health to immediately commence the minimum unit pricing of alcohol products, which passed into law last October but lies stuck in political inertia,” AAI head of communications Eunan McKinney said. 

This availability of such cheap, strong alcohol is killing our people.

“It is simply incredible that economic interest would continue to be advanced ahead of a public health measure that would benefit the wellbeing of our youth and those at high risk because of alcohol,” he said. 

The market review and price survey was carried out in two Dublin locations (city centre and north county), one regional city (Sligo), and one town (Longford), by AAI between 24 and 26 July.

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