ALCOHOL SALES are up 58% compared to this time last year, it has been revealed.
According to a report from Breaking News, retailers have seen a near two-thirds increase in alcohol sales week on week over the past seven days compared to the same period in 2019.
That figure follows an increase of somewhere between 22% and 30% during the first few weeks of COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland.
Commenting on the findings, Eunan McKinney, from Alcohol Action Ireland, cited the closure of pubs across the country as a key factor in the increase.
However, he was keen to stress that a rise of 58% represented a higher than expected increase.
"We don't know whether people are necessarily [drinking more]," he said.
"Obviously all pubs are closed and licensed premises are closed, therefore I suppose there may be some degree of displacement of activity. At 58% it certainly would be up and away and beyond [what was expected]."
The figures come just hours after Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris told The Sunday Independent, that pubs are unlikely to fully reopen until a vaccine or effective treatment is found.
"What's not going to come back quickly are scenarios in which we can't safely socially distance,” he said.
"So, I can't see how people can be in packed pubs again as long as this virus is still with us and we don't have a vaccine or an effective treatment."
The current restrictions on travel, work and business in Ireland are set to be in place until May 5, when a decision will be made to extend, increase or reduce them.