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It’s said that pub culture has come to an end in Ireland with the recession and the five-fold increase in off licenses nation-wide (between 1990 and 2006) being the root cause, however what impact, if any, has this had on alcohol abuse?  The pub trade may be in decline but it would seem this isn’t affecting the quantity or frequency of drinking in Ireland. With the cost of drinks in pubs increasing, people are availing of the much cheaper off license option and drinking more in their homes. Drinking at home can lead to problems in the quantity consumed, as what we may serve ourselves at home can tend to be a lot more generous than pub measurements.

Irish Pub Culture

Irish Pub Culture

Between 1998 and 2010 there was a 161% percent increase in the number of full off licenses and a 19% decrease in pub licenses. With off licenses selling alcohol at a much cheaper rate and also offering deals on buying in bulk, alcohol is much more affordable and accessible in quantity to the consumer. Overall alcohol became 50% more affordable in Ireland between 1996 and 2008. The average Irish woman can reach her low risk weekly drinking limit for just 6.30Euro, while men can reach theirs for just under 10.00Euro. To put just how affordable this is into perspective, the minimum hourly wage is 8.65Euro.

In a report done by the Health research board in 2012 on alcohol, public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours 76% of people said they had bought alcohol in a supermarket, with 24% saying they would buy more if the price decreased further. Almost half the participants agreed that they tend to buy more alcohol when it is on special offer. So with increased availability to alcohol, despite the downturn in pub trade, has this led to more alcohol abuse? At present four out of ten Irish women report harmful drinking patterns which are damaging to their health and a higher proportion of women drink in Ireland compared with other European countries (77% compared to 68%). Seven out of ten men are reported to drink at levels which is harmful to their health, with one in four deaths of young men aged between 15 and 39 being alcohol related. There is also a well-established link between alcohol abuse and suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young Irish men aged 15 to 24, with almost half of all suicide victims being found to have abused alcohol in the last 12 months.

Alcohol abuse is also a major contributing factor to increases in crime in the country, with alcohol being identified as a contributing factor in 97% of public order offences and approximately 318,000 people reporting that they or a family member had been assaulted by someone under the influence of alcohol in the past 12 months.

Consequences of Alcohol abuse

Consequences of Alcohol abuse

With Ireland continuing to be one among those ranking the highest for the consumption of alcohol in the EU it is fair to say that although many pub doors have closed, the availability and affordability of alcohol has meant that alcohol abuse appears to be on the rise and there are serious challenges developing for the country in terms of costs and reparation. There are campaigns under way however to alleviate some, if not all the issues the minimum pricing campaign being one example.

For more information go to: www.alacoholireland.com, www.drinkaware.ie,

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8 Comments

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

I lived in Ireland during the 70’s and 80’s the only you could buy alcohol in rural areas was the pub. I returned many years later to find it available everywhere. I would walk into grocery stores and see it piled high as the offer of the week at prices I honestly believe in the 2000’s were less than we paid in the pubs 30 years earlier. Given the Irish genetic disposition to alcoholism that cannot be a good thing and the statistics are not surprising.

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

It’s known that the earlier people drink in life, the more likely they’re going to develop alcoholism.

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

[…] like their neighboring country Ireland, the increased affordability of alcohol and changes in drinking behaviors have created a surge in […]

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

I wish people would stop drinking. The abuse hurts them. Their families. Potential people on the roads… with DUIs. It’s a killer. Alcohol kills.

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

I hope so. Too many people drink and drive. DUIs are scary.

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

I love having a drink or two, and that doesn’t make me an alcoholic. CONTROL.

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

I’m all about having a drink, but when did it become a fad to drink responsibly?

 

AmyJanuary 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

Alcohol abuse begins in the home. Plain and simple. I don’t think you need to worry about pubs, though I’m sure things could be better regulated this way.

 

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