Tuesday 22 October 2019

Revealed: Significant price differences for alcohol, cigarettes and fuel between Dublin and Newry

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan launched a bid to put the brakes on cross-border shopping trips
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan launched a bid to put the brakes on cross-border shopping trips
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Cross-border shopping for alcohol needs to be discouraged “at all costs”, according to Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DGI), as new data that shows that the price of drink remains significantly cheaper in Northern Ireland.

The results from a Revenue survey of prices in Dublin and Newry on August 15 focused on taxes and duty heavy goods, such as alcohol, fuel and cigarettes.

However, in contract to alcohol, the price of cigarettes, petrol and diesel were cheaper in the Republic last month.

The report also found that that price differences in the South imposes significantly greater taxes and duties on the selected goods than in the North. 

Stock picture
Stock picture

On the day the survey was conducted, a box of 20 cigarettes were €0.50 cheaper in the Republic, at €13, compared with €13.47 in Northern Ireland.

A litre of diesel was also cheaper in the South at €1.34 compared with €1.44 in the north.

But when it comes to alcohol, a bottle of vodka will save you as much as €5.27 if travelling to the north and €3.92 when shopping for whiskey. 

A bottle of Chardonnay on the other hand will save you €2.38 when shopping up north and €8.15 for sparkling wine. 

According to DIGI, the survey’s results are "particularly worrying", given the current political and economic challenges and uncertainty of Brexit. 

"Given the price differential, cross border shopping for cheaper alcohol is a real threat to Irish businesses, to our economy and to the Exchequer and one which needs to be discouraged at all costs," a statement read.

At a time when a no-deal Brexit is looming, consumer confidence is low, sterling is falling, UK tourism is down and with overall uncertainty in the market, this further deepens DIGI’s concerns about the future of the many thousands of drinks and hospitality businesses that it represents. Immediate action is required. 

"Ireland has the second-highest overall alcohol excise tax in the EU, behind only Finland. Irish businesses and consumers pay the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits, despite the fact that this country produces some of the world's best-known and most beloved drinks products.

"A scenario where consumers avoid shopping locally, and instead travel North for cheaper alcohol, will impact our pubs, restaurants, hotels and retailers, along with our brewers, distillers and manufacturers and therefore needs action. 

"Equally, with sterling declining, shopping for all good and services becomes more attractive so this could have a knock-on effect for retailers generally," the statement read.

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