IRELAND is the fourth worst country in the EU for nanny state rules on alcohol, cigarettes and food, a report has found.
So called ‘sin taxes’ – where excise duty is placed on goods deemed harmful to society – and stringent regulation mean Ireland comes just behind Britain in the survey of all 28 EU countries conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
The Nanny State Index 2016 looked at a variety of ways that European governments infringe on people’s personal freedom.
It ranked Ireland as fourth on the list of “worst places in the European Union to eat, drink, smoke and vape”.
Overall, Ireland was found to have the second most strict regulation for tobacco, while Irish alcohol policy was the third “least free” in Europe.
Finland topped the list, with Sweden coming second followed by Britain and Ireland.
Only Britain has stricter rules on the sale of tobacco than Ireland; while Sweden and Finland have more restrictive alcohol policies.
Ireland and Britain both scored a zero for government interference with vaping – the use of electronic cigarettes.
The IEA scored each of the European Union member states out of 100 when it came to nanny state policies.
“Ireland in the last 10 years has really come up as being a sort of leader in nanny state regulations, as has the UK, so I guess the countries are more of less where I would expect them,” said the survey editor Christopher Snowdon, IEA’s head of lifestyle economics.
The “freest” country in Europe to live in was found to be the Czech Republic, which scored just 8.8 out of 100 – compared with Ireland’s 34.4.