Drinkaware report finds 25% of Irish people are drinking more during lockdown 2 months ago

Drinkaware report finds 25% of Irish people are drinking more during lockdown

14% are drinking four or more times during the week.

The Covid-19 crisis has had a noticeable effect on Irish drinking habits, not least because the pubs have now been shut down for two months.

However, supermarkets and off-licenses have remained open as essential businesses, and a new report from Drinkaware suggests that a quarter of Irish people are actually drinking more since the lockdown began. In a major contrast, 25% of respondents have also said that they are drinking less since the emergency measures came into place.

Elsewhere, an increase has been seen in the number of Irish adults who say they drink once a week. Compared to 44% for 2019, more than half (52%) of respondents said they are now drinking weekly. 14% are drinking four or more times a week, and 24% report drinking twice or three times per week. On a more positive note, 31% of participants said they had made positive changes to their drinking habits.

88% of all respondents said the primary reason behind their drinking was to "relax and unwind".

The study, which was conducted by polling company Behaviours and Attitudes (B&A), spoke to a total 1,015 participants, all over 18. The research also found that 19% of its respondents said they had noticed an increase in alcohol consumption by another adult in their house, with 47% reporting increased tension in their household over the last 30 days.

Sheena Horgan, CEO of Drinkaware, said that the study reinforces figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) that suggests alcohol consumption is up.

Horgan said: "This new research shows how the new norm is changing Irish drinking habits and attitudes.  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 88%, 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."

John O’Mahony, Director at B&A further noted: "The findings highlight the extent of the challenges faced by over-consumption in the home setting. An encouraging finding however is the proportion of people who have demonstrated a willingness to change behaviour."