Pub sales in Ireland fell 8.2% by volume and 7.3% by value in the first seven months of 2012, according to new figures from trade body the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI). Bar sales in July were 11.4% below those in the same the same month last year, and sales volumes are more than one third lower than pre-recession levels of 2007, the group said. DIGI chairman Kieran Tobinsaid: “While our drinks products continue to perform very well internationally, the domestic market on which our export success is founded, is in very significant decline. “The Government is currently trying to boost the hospitality sector through initiatives such as The Gathering and last year’s reduction in the lower rate of VAT for food and tourism related services. DIGI welcomes these measures and is committed to working with Government to identify further effective measures that will support the jobs and livelihoods in our sector and boost the wider economy. “The Government should also recognise that despite the troika’s proposal for an excise increase, this would further weaken the on-trade and independent off-trade in particular while also running contrary to efforts to boost tourism, consumer spending, and supporting jobs.” The data, compiled by Dublin City University on behalf of DIGI and using official Government data, shows that total alcohol consumption across all categories fell 3.2% in the seven months.