DROWNING your sorrows has got a whole lot dearer thanks to budget tax hikes and the end of Christmas special offers.
The cost of living fell by 0.5pc in January, but consumers are paying 17.7pc more for spirits, 13pc more for wine and 5.4pc more for beer, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
This was partly due to the Government putting an extra €1 on a bottle of wine and increasing beer and spirits prices by 10c a measure in the December Budget as many stores did not pass the full increase on until after Christmas.
The CSO said alcohol prices rose in January following the end of special offers in off- licences and supermarkets.
Annual inflation was up 1.2pc in the 12 months to January, with the most significant increases in education, alcohol and miscellaneous goods and services.
Inflation is running at the same rate as the previous month, but is significantly lower than a year ago, when prices were rising by 2.2pc a year.
Clothing and shoe prices fell by 11pc in January, while furniture and household equipment prices were down by 3pc because of the winter sales.
Health costs also rose, mainly due to an increase in the price of prescription drugs.
Food prices have risen twice as fast as general inflation in the last year, at 2.4pc, with particular hikes for pizza, quiche, crisps, cocoa, dried fruit, chocolate, fish, lamb and beef.
Alan McQuaid, of Merrion Stockbrokers, commented: "Continued weak consumer demand will put downward pressure on prices in the months ahead."
He added that the biggest risk of inflation came from the international price of energy.