THE majority of Irish people "drink in a harmful manner", according to research into alcohol-related deaths.
Dr Suzi Lyons, senior researcher at the Health Research Board (HRB), said more than half of Irish people were indulging in dangerous drinking patterns.
"The per capita consumption of alcohol in Ireland is among the highest in Europe and the majority of Irish people drink in a harmful manner," she said.
The HRB report revealed that the number of deaths in alcohol-dependent people rose during the period of the boom years in Ireland.
One in four of the 3,336 in this group who died between 2004 and 2008 were killed by liver disease, the report said.
Heart conditions and respiratory infections were the other most common medical causes of death among this group.
The report showed 672 died of alcohol-related poisoning -- two-thirds of whom were men.
"Many of those who died were still in the prime of their life," Dr Lyons revealed.
The rise in such deaths was probably due to a real increase in the number of deaths, as well as better recording of statistics.