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Quarter of people are now drinking more as tensions rise in households

Fears of surge in visitors to holiday homes unfounded

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The use of alcohol to relax and unwind is not new but it is concerning. (Stock image)

The use of alcohol to relax and unwind is not new but it is concerning. (Stock image)

The use of alcohol to relax and unwind is not new but it is concerning. (Stock image)

Just over half of Irish adults are now drinking alcohol on a weekly basis with one in four saying they have increased their consumption during the coronavirus lockdown.

An overwhelming 88pc of people said the reason for drinking during this time was "to help relax and unwind", according to the survey published by the national charity Drinkaware today.

The study of more than 1,000 adults began online on April 24 and examined drinking behaviours during restrictions in the previous 30-day period.

The researchers found that 52pc of adults are drinking alcohol on a weekly basis, which was up from 44pc surveyed last year.

Meanwhile, the frequency of consumption among those who drink has also increased, with 14pc of adults reporting drinking four or more times each week in the previous 30-day period, with a further 24pc consuming alcohol between two and three times a week.

Around one in five (19pc) said that they had noticed an increase in consumption among other adults in their household.

Almost half of the people surveyed (47pc) said that tensions in their household had increased in the past 30 days, according to the research conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Drinkaware.

However, a significant percentage of people (25pc) also reported a decline in alcohol consumption during the lockdown, and 31pc said they had made positive changes to their drinking habits.

"This new research shows how the new norm is changing Irish drinking habits and attitudes," said Sheena Horgan, CEO of Drinkaware.

"For some it's a time to reflect and to change their alcohol consumption. For others alcohol is a coping and stress relief at a difficult time.

"The use of alcohol to relax or unwind is not new, but it is concerning, and at 88pc almost universal.

"As we enter the first phase of easing restrictions, we need to renew our efforts to explore alternative and healthier coping strategies that don't involve consistent and potentially harmful drinking."

However, she added that there is clearly an appetite and willingness to make changes among Irish adults, with around one-third having already made positive changes to cut down or cut out alcohol over the past month.

"We can see in real time from the Drinkaware website which had almost 90,000 visits in April alone, that people are equally concerned about their drinking habits at home during isolation and proactively seeking information and tools to help."

Separately, a new study has eased fears about a potential massive surge in the number of people visiting their holiday homes during the restrictions.

The latest Savills-Pinergy Energy Monitor found nearly an 83pc reduction in energy consumption in holiday homes throughout Ireland over the Easter weekend, when compared with the same period last year.

However, the study released today found that energy consumption amongst families has increased by 12pc during the lockdown, as many households witnessed an increase in adult children moving back home.

Consumption among professionals was up 13pc, with many office-based employees now working from home.

However, consumption among young renters and students was down nearly 46pc, reflecting the migration of the young adult population back home.

Irish Independent


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