Cheaper to buy Irish whiskey in US than here
Ireland is the most expensive country in the EU to buy alcohol, according to Eurostat.
A study found it is now more expensive to buy a bottle of Irish whiskey here than in the United States, as prices soared with successive budgetary hikes in excise duty.
Alcohol in Ireland costs 70pc more than the EU average price, followed by the UK (65pc more than EU average) and Finland (36pc), according to Eurostat.
Overall, Ireland has the fifth highest prices in the EU for consumer goods and services, behind Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK.
Evelyn Jones, of the National Off-Licence Association, told the Irish Independent that high tax rates mean off-licences are not feeling the benefits of national economic recovery.
She said: "Since 2008, the independent off-licence sector has lost hundreds of businesses and 3,000 jobs. This year nearly half of our members cited the current level of excise, as increased in 2013 and 2014, as the main reason for a decline in business.
"While the economic downturn has been an important factor, Government policy in the form of punitive excise duty has played a crucial part in the decline of the sector."
The group is calling for the reintroduction of the ban on below-cost sale of alcohol, which they say allows retailers to reclaim a VAT refund costing the taxpayer €24m a year.
The Support Your Local campaign, which represents publicans, restaurants, hotels, independent off-licences and drinks suppliers nationwide, said high taxes had implications for a number of sectors including tourism.
Campaign Manager Bart Storan said: "These high prices not only prevent new players from establishing a foothold in our market but also prevent their brands from building a relationship with tourists as they simply think that they are being ripped off."