Page last updated at 05:46 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 06:46 UK

Peace 'causes increased drinking'

man drinking beer
Alcohol consumption has increased at a faster rate in Northern Ireland

Alcohol consumption has increased at a higher rate in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain since the start of the peace process, a survey has found.

According to the research, NI people also engage in more binge drinking than in England, Scotland and Wales.

The report, published by the Rowntree Foundation, found a clear increase in drinking by both men and women and especially in adults aged 18-24.

It suggests the new trends may be the result of a better standard of living.

The report said one possible explanation for the increased drinking since 1986 was the introduction of new licensing laws and the development of the leisure industry since the start of the peace process.

Researchers found that the rapid growth in nightlife and changes to the licensing laws have led to the higher drinking levels.

While weekly excessive drinking increased in Northern Ireland, there had been a slight overall decline in the UK

The report claimed that across the UK almost one woman in six now drinks more than double the recommended daily amount of three units.

Men still binge drink more, with nearly one in four (23%) consuming twice as much as they should, but the "gender gap" is closing.

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