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Drinking Up

Thirsty troops will now have to pay €3.10 for a pint of Guinness

The Defence Forces raised the price of booze in its subsidised watering holes.

THIRSTY TROOPS WILL have to dig a little deeper in their pockets for a tipple at their local barracks after the Defence Forces raised the price of booze in its subsidised watering holes.

The recent price hike is unlikely to break the bank, however, as soldiers can still buy a pint of Guinness for €3.10 and a measure of vodka for €2, while a bowl of soup for soakage will cost just 60 cent.

Price increases were introduced last June, before which army personnel could buy pints for as little as €2.60. The price of a pint of Guinness, Heineken, Budweiser and Carlsberg all increased by 10 cent to €3.10, while Beamish went from €2.60 to €2.70.

There are approximately 45 bars and canteens located in army barracks around the country, which are run by a centralised Defence Forces Canteen Board. Admission to the army bars is restricted to members of the military, but civilian guests may attend at the invitation of official personnel.

The discount watering holes are subsidised by the Government and received a total of €912,629 in grant aid during the four years between 2012 and 2015.

The payment of grant aid for the purpose of funding costs was discontinued in 2014 but the Government has continued to provide subvention for certain staff payments and “unforeseen costs”. In 2015, it provided subvention of €46,922.

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces said that notification was received from several suppliers earlier this year, indicating that there would be price increases on a number of products with effect from June 1.

It was decided at a meeting of the Defence Forces Canteen Board on May 31 that price increases – typically between 10 cent and 20 cent – would be implemented.

“The price of Guinness and Heineken was increased from €3 to €3.10. The 10-cent increase was a rounded-off figure, approved by the Defence Forces Canteen Board,” said the spokesperson.

“Any profits made from sales are lodged into the individual mess accounts and any proposed spend is a matter for mess members and the committees.”

Price lists released by the Defence Forces under the Freedom of Information Act show that the price of a bottle of Budweiser increased by 10 cent to €2.30, while a bottle of Miller increased by the same margin to €2.40.

A shot of Jagermeister increased by 20 cent under the series of price hikes, but can still be bought for just €1.90 in army messes. The popular ‘shooter’ spirit can cost more than €5 in pubs and clubs around the country.

A measure of 12-year-old Jameson 1780 increased in price by 50 cent to €3.80, although this can retail for around three times that price in civilian licenced premises.

Read: Here’s what the minimum price for booze will be under new alcohol rules

Darragh McDonagh
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