IRELAND is no longer the biggest nation of drinkers in the EU after falling sharply down the list.
The stereotypical image of the Irish as big drinkers may unfortunately be ubiquitous, but the latest stats shows Ireland's alcohol intake is now just above average in Europe.
Figures from the European Commission showed that in 2000, Ireland was the nation with the biggest consumption of alcohol among 27 European countries, with over-15s consuming more than 14 litres of pure alcohol a year.
However in 2014, that figure had fallen 23.6 per cent to 10.6 litres, placing Ireland 12th on the list behind the likes of France, Poland and Germany.
That was the steepest fall of any country and placed Ireland at just above average in terms of alcohol consumption.
Despite the fall, Eunan McKinney of Alcohol Action Ireland said the news must take into account that Europe is still the world’s heaviest drinking region, adding that alcohol consumption in Ireland actually rose 4.8 per cent in 2016.
Mr McKinney told The Times: “We drink twice as much as global norms, and that, mixed with a cultural normalisation that disregards its impact, has fuelled our national crisis with alcohol.
“If Ireland were to follow the low-risk guidelines on alcohol consumption, 11 standard drinks for women and 17 for men, our target would be seven litres.”
The Times reports that the EU statistics are based on data reported to the World Health Organisation.