The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has responded to today’s released study claiming 1.3m Irish people are ‘harmful drinkers,’ broadly welcoming the report but noting caution in its methods.
The study, conducted by the Health Research Board, claims that upwards of 1.3m Irish people are classed as ‘harmful drinkers’, and that 75% of alcohol is consumed in Ireland as part of a binge session.
ABFI Senior Executive Thomas Burke welcomed the report as an opportunity for meaningful engagement on the issue of binge drinking, while also pointing to other consumption findings from DCU Economist Tony Foley from March 2014, sourced from the CSO Population and Migration Estimates and the Revenue Commissioners’ alcohol clearance data. These findings showed that consumption is now 25% lower than 2001 and is back to pre-1990 levels. Average consumption fell by 7.6% between 2012 and 2013.
The ABFI is throwing caution to the report, saying the broad approach taken by the researchers ‘does not help in identifying those most at risk’.
In a statement, Mr. Burke said: “While overall consumption is falling binge drinking is still problematic in our society. We need to look at ways of addressing this issue in a way that affects long term societal change. This requires a whole of society response.”
Mr. Burke went on to call on the government to address alcohol misuse by tackling the sale of below cost alcohol, banning price-based advertising and introducing codes to regulate the merchandising of alcohol.