© The Authors 2020. Objective:To provide baseline evidence of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in a sample of Irish children prior to the introduction of the SSB tax; to identify the energy contribution of SSB to daily energy intake; and to explore the association between SSB consumption and overweight/obesity.Design:Cross-sectional study.Setting:Primary schools in Cork, Ireland in 2012.Participants:1075 boys and girls aged 8-11 years. SSB consumption was assessed from 3-d food diaries. BMI was used to define obesity (International Obesity Taskforce definitions). Plausible energy reporters (n 724, 68 % of total sample) were classified using Schofield equation.Results:Eighty-two per cent of children with plausible energy intake consumed SSB. Mean energy intake from SSB was 485 kJ (6 % of total kJ). Mean kilojoules from SSB increased with weight status from 443 kJ for normal-weight children to 648 kJ for children with overweight/obesity (5·8 and 7·6 % of total kJ, respectively). Mean SSB intake was significantly higher in children with overweight/obesity than normal-weight children (383 and 315 ml/d). In adjusted analyses, children consuming >200 ml/d had an 80 % increased odds of overweight/obesity compared to those consuming <200 ml/d (OR 1·8, 95 % CI 1·0, 3·5). Family socioeconomic status and lifestyle determinants, including frequency of takeaway consumption and TV viewing, were also significantly associated with SSB consumption.Conclusions:SSB account for a substantial proportion of daily energy intake and are significantly associated with child overweight/obesity. This study provides baseline data from a sample of children from which the impact of the SSB tax can be benchmarked.