Alcohol in Ireland

Alcohol is an integral but increasingly complex part of Irish culture, identity and way of life. It is widely used as a relaxant, as an accompaniment to socialising and celebration, as a source of employment, exports and tourism. Unfortunately- as will be familiar to many Irish people- alcohol is a two sided coin. Problems directly associated with alcohol are becoming increasingly visible across our society and have a devastating impact on countless individuals, families and communities.

Over the last number of years, both from international and national research, and our ongoing work at the Alcohol Forum, there is a growing awareness that excessive alcohol use exerts significant harm on many aspects of our society.

The Health service Executive (HSE) has developed a fantastic website full of useful information on alcohol and how it can and does affect us and others. 

The purpose of the website is to improve people’s knowledge about alcohol – how much we’re drinking, how it affects our health and mental wellbeing, and how we can gain more by drinking less.

Whatever you drink, you can find out what it’s doing to you healthwise on www.AskAboutAlcohol.ie.

A SNAPSHOT OF OUR DRINKING

  • 88 people die every month in Ireland as a direct result of alcohol.
  • 1 in 4 deaths of young men aged between 15-39 is due to alcohol.
  • Alcohol is a factor in over a third of all fatal road accidents.
  • 134,500: The number of drink driving arrests in Ireland since 2004.
  • 1,500 Irish hospital beds are filled everyday for reasons related to alcohol.
  • 93% of suicides in under 30’s have featured alcohol as a factor.
  • 1 in 5 cases of children being admitted to care is primarily due to family member abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • 1 in 3 pedestrians killed on our roads have alcohol in their system.
  • 1 in 11 young people (12-18 yrs.) said that parental alcohol use had a negative affect on them. This equates to about 2 children in every classroom in Ireland.

THE COST OF OUR DRINKING

  • Alcohol presents a more significant cost burden on Irish society than smoking and obesity combined.
  • The estimated cost of alcohol misuse on the Irish health care system is €1.5 billion.
  • €500m is spent on hospital inpatient care every year for alcohol-related admissions.
  • €574m of annual GP budgets are expended on care related to alcohol-related illnesses.