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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 17:17 GMT
Irish EU's 'worst binge-drinkers'
Female drinker in the UK (file picture)
Binge-drinking is defined as having five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting
Ireland has the highest rates of binge-drinking in the European Union, a survey exploring attitudes to alcohol has indicated.

Finland and Britain came second and third in the Eurobarometer survey.

In Italy and Greece, by comparison, only 2% of people said they did binge-drink - defined as having five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting.

The survey comes just a few days before Ireland, and much of the world, celebrates Saint Patrick's Day.

Ireland 34%
Finland 27%
UK 24%
Denmark 23%
Portugal 4%
Italy & Greece 2%
Source: Eurobarometer

Binge-drinking is a particular problem among young people, with almost a fifth of the 15-24 age group usually binge-drinking when consuming alcohol, according to the results of the survey on attitudes towards alcohol, presented by the European Commission on Thursday.

According to the data, men drink more than women, and one in 10 Europeans usually drinks five or more drinks in one session.

Almost eight out of 10 Europeans agree with putting warnings on alcohol bottles and adverts to warn pregnant women and drivers of the dangers of drinking alcohol.

Irish debate

One in three Irish people questioned in the EU survey regularly binge-drink.

In Ireland, there is an ongoing public debate about attitudes to alcohol, especially among young people, says the BBC's James Helm in Dublin.

The Catholic Church has added its voice to those warning of the dangers to society of alcohol abuse.

Saint Patrick's Day on 17 March, the feast day for Ireland's patron saint, can be the cue for heavy drinking.

In recent years there has been much concern about underage drinking on Irish streets on Saint Patrick's Day and some of the resulting problems, including violence, our correspondent says.

This year, police will patrol outside many off-licences where alcohol is sold and there have been calls for stores selling alcoholic drinks to restrict their opening hours in order to try to prevent excessive drinking.

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08 Dec 06 |  Magazine
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