Ireland ranks as most expensive country to buy alcohol in the EU
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Ireland ranks as most expensive country to buy alcohol in the EU

IRELAND HAS emerged as the most expensive country in the European Union to purchase alcohol and tobacco in, new figures have revealed.

A report compiled by Eurostat compared the cost of a number of goods and services from across the EU, covering more than 2,400 consumer goods and services across all 28 member states.

It shone a light on Ireland's noticeably high alcoholic beverage and tobacco prices in comparison to other EU nations.

While Bulgaria boasted the lowest alcohol price level in 2017 at around 56% the standard average price, Ireland was found to have prices 174% above the average.

That figure puts Ireland ahead of the UK (157%) and the three traditionally expensive Nordic EU Member States, Finland (139%), Sweden (127%) and Denmark (123%).

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At the other end of the scale, Romania (69%) and Hungary (70%) were found to be among the cheapest.

Part of the reason for this large variation in pricing is the differences in taxation for these productions from nation to nation.

Commenting on the figures, Patricia Callan from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) and Director of ABFI, pointed to the role tax has played in the high prices.

"Our high excise tax is an anti-competitive tax on one of Ireland's largest employers and fastest-growing industries, she said.

"Today's figures show definitively that Ireland's price levels vary significantly and that our excise rates are completely out of kilter with our European peers. This is yet another reminder that action is needed now."

The DIGI is calling on the government to do more to support Ireland's drinks and hospitality sector with the 2019 Budget - starting with a change to the tax rules in place.

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On the flip side, the Eurostat report also showed Ireland to be the cheapest EU state for consumer electronics while clothing was also reasonably priced compared to other Member states.