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Alcohol excise duty in Ireland is the second-highest in Europe

The rate of alcohol excise duty in Ireland is the second-highest across the 26 EU member states and the UK, according to new research.

The report by Dublin City University economist Anthony Foley, which was commissioned by the drinks industry lobby group, showed Ireland has the highest excise tax on wine, with a glass incurring an excise cost of 80c.

This compares with just 1c in France, according to the report commissioned by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI)

A total of 15 EU countries do not charge any excise tax on wine, the report found. These countries include Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Finland currently has the highest excise tax rate on beer.

The rate of excise duty on spirits here is the third highest compared with other EU countries and the UK, the analysis showed.

Excise tax on a 70cl bottle of whiskey in Ireland is over four times higher than in Spain.

In Ireland, this bottle is sold at an off-licence with an additional excise duty of almost €12. In a Spanish store, the same bottle of Irish whiskey has an excise duty of just €2.69.

Finland and Sweden charge the highest rates of excise tax on spirits, according to the report.

The country with the highest overall excise tax rate per hectolitre of pure alcohol was Finland. Finland’s composite alcohol excise level is 22.1pc higher than Ireland.

UK placed third, while Spain, Romania and Bulgaria have the lowest rates of alcohol excise duty.

As well as the excise duty, Irish consumers pay an additional 23pc Vat on alcohol purchases, with the report highlighting that the government receives around 30-35pc of the retail price of every drink sold here.

“The data once again clearly demonstrates the very high levels of alcohol excise in Ireland compared to our EU neighbours which, of course, places a relatively large burden on the Irish drinks industry and consumers compared to other EU members,” said the report.

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) lobby group says almost 2,000 pubs across Ireland have shut their doors since 2005.

DIGI is calling on the Government to bring excise duty here more in line with other EU countries in a move it said would improve Ireland’s reputation among tourists.

Publicans said they are seeking a reduction of 15pc over two years.

“This action from the Government would not just be a token measure, it would be a serious signal of support for the hospitality sector which is at the heart of towns and villages across Ireland,” DIGI chair Kathryn D’Arcy said.

She added that a 7.5pc cut annually would give businesses “a much-needed break”.

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