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Irish Consumers Still Paying More Than EU Counterparts

Published on Jun 24 2014 10:26 AM in General Industry

Irish Consumers Still Paying More Than EU Counterparts

According to the latest figures from Eurostat, Ireland is the fifth most expensive country in the EU and prices are substantially above average when it comes to food, drinks, alcohol, tobacco, restaurants, hotels and transport. The figures based on data from last year show that prices in Ireland are 18 per cent higher than the EU average, despite only just emerging from recession and enduring six years of austerity.

The only countries ranked more expensive were Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg and Finland, traditionally countries with much higher taxes than Ireland. Irish prices are higher than those in countries such as the UK, France, Germany and Spain. These findings have prompted renewed concern about Ireland's competitiveness.

One particular area of concern is that restaurants and hotels enjoy favourable tax rates yet their prices are 28 per cent above average. However, these high prices seem to have done nothing to dissuade holidaymakers, with the Irish Hotels Foundation (IHF) finding that seven out of ten hotels have seen an increase in bookings. However the IHF has warned that Irish hotels need to stay competitive and that one of the factors contributing to the high prices are the high rate charges such as utility charges.

Irish alcohol and tobacco prices are still the most expensive in the EU, a massive 78 per cent more than the EU average. A major reason for this is the high level of taxation on these products. The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has called for a reduction on the excise duty on alcohol saying it could affect jobs and act as a disincentive for tourists to visit Ireland.

Despite high agriculture production and export levels, Ireland was still 17 per cent above average for food and non-alcoholic beverages. A trend in line with the general increase in cost of living in Ireland.

The only area where Ireland came in below the EU average is clothing, and even then prices are only 2 per cent lower than the EU average. There was less variance between prices for furniture and household appliances throughout the EU and Ireland fits with this profile.

Bulgaria is the cheapest country in the EU, with prices 52 per cent below the EU average.

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