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The cost of food and drink in Ireland far higher than the EU average, new study finds

Ireland was second only to Finland when it came to the cost of alcohol in the EU.

download (8) Source: Eurostat

IRELAND IS AMONG the most expensive countries in the EU when it comes to buying food and drink according to new data from Eurostat.

The figures from the EU’s statistical office shows that Ireland comes joint-fourth when it comes to the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages, and in second place in terms of the most expensive alcoholic beverages.

Food baskets here cost 20% more than the EU average, with Denmark the priciest in Europe. 

The cost of bread and cereals in Ireland for example is 119% of the EU average, with the cost of milk, cheese and eggs 121% of the average. 

Alcohol, meanwhile, is 177% of the average, while the cost of tobacco here is twice the EU average. 

The cost of alcohol here is only slightly less expensive than Finland, where drink costs the most in the EU.

Lobbyists from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland said these statistics support a case for reducing excise levels on alcohol in the next Budget as part of efforts to “Brexit proof” the industry.

Its chair Rosemary Garth said: “It is disappointing, yet unsurprising to see Ireland in the top tier of most expensive countries in the EU when it comes to the prices of food and drink.”

Garth said excise taxes on wine, beer and spirits is “limiting the innovation and entrepreneurship” in the drinks industry.

“Our excise tax levels on alcohol are prohibitive and undermine our competitiveness, particularly given current political and economic considerations and uncertainty ahead of Brexit,” she said. “It is imperative that we are in line with our international counterparts and are not viewed as an expensive country in which to do business, live and visit.”

The data in this study is based on a survey of the prices of food, drink and tobacco across the member states in 2018.

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Sean Murray

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