| From Page 10 of the report - Ireland is represented from teh left with an unenviable alcohol record|
Binge drinking across Europe remains a problem in Ireland, the UK, Finland and Denmark, according to a European Union survey on alcohol consumption that was published on Wednesday.
The survey that was carried out in October and November 2006, found that almost one in five people between the ages of 15 and 24 drink five or more alcoholic beverages in one session, or 19% of those asked across the EU27, in addition to Croatia and northern Cyprus.
EU spokesman Philip Tod said the EU poll, which questioned 28,584 people, defined binge drinking as when more than five alcoholic drinks are consumed in one sitting.
The poll found that 34% of Irish people questioned saying they "usually" binge drink, followed by Finland, where 27% of respondents said they did the same. Britain was third with 24% and Denmark fourth with 23%.
Much lower levels of alcohol were consumed in Italy and Greece, where only 2% of those asked said they binge drink. Tod said the survey found that the average of binge drinking was around the same level as the last similar survey conducted in 2003 on alcohol consumption.
"Although 59% of Europeans drink moderately, one or two drinks at a time, 10% of Europeans usually drink five or more drinks at time," Tod said. "This figure is particularly high amongst the 15 to 24 age group."
EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said he was "deeply concerned" over the data showing the high binge drinking rate among young people.
Tod said the European Commission, which commissioned the survey, is calling for better public education as to the dangers of drinking too much, especially for pregnant women, drivers and young people.
The survey also found that 77% of those asked would agree on a clamp down on how alcohol is sold, including putting warning labels on alcohol bottles and adverts to warn vulnerable groups of the dangers of drinking too much.
A further 76% are in favour of ban in alcohol ads which target young people and 73% back lower blood alcohol level limits for young and novice drivers of 0.2 grams per litre, compared to an average limit of 0.5 which is in place in a majority of EU states.
The survey also found strong support, 80% backing, for random alcohol testing by police of drivers.
The Commission has said that about 55 million adults, or more than 10% of the population, are estimated to drink at harmful levels in the EU. Alcohol is the third biggest cause of illness and early death, killing 195,000 people a year and more than one fourth of traffic accident deaths on EU roads are caused by drink-driving.
Europe remains the biggest consumers of alcohol in the world, with the average adult consuming 11 litres of pure alcohol annually, or the equivalent of the alcohol content in 1,400 small beers, according to figures provided by the Commission.
The survey had a margin of error up to plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
World Alcohol Consumption