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.


  • 88 people die every month in Ireland as a direct result of alcohol.
  • Alcohol is the worlds leading risk factor for death of men age between 15-59.
  • 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.
  • 2,000 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.


  • 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 €1.2 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.