Arthur's Day bands 'should donate fees to charity'

Youth website SpunOut.ie has today called on artists performing as part of Arthur’s Day to donate their fees to charities tackling alcohol-related harm.

International artists such as Biffy Clyro, Emeli Sandé, Iggy Azalea, Janelle Monáe, as well as Irish acts such as Kodaline, Le Galaxie & The Script will be playing at venues across the country this Thursday as part of the nationwide Diageo marketing campaign.

“What we’re saying to the acts and their fans is simple; Diageo’s Arthur’s Day is a marketing exercise with the sole aim of increasing alcohol consumption without any regard to the harm caused.” said Ian Power, spokesperson for SpunOut.ie.

“We only need to look at the recent Irish reports published on suicide and self harm which show the times at which people present at hospitals having self-harmed mirrors the pattern of increased alcohol consumption, peaking on Saturdays. Alcohol was a factor in 38% of all self harm cases in 2012.

“Acts can acknowledge the effect harmful drinking causes on our society by donating their fee (or the fee they would normally charge) to hard-working charities such as the Aislinn Centre which help young people fighting addiction or the Rise Foundation which works with families affected by addiction.

“We are also calling on the Government to urgently publish their alcohol strategy and to hold the drinks industry to account by making them prove the effectiveness of their “DrinkAware” campaign and compel them to publish research as to whether any of their ‘Drink Responsibly’ messages make a difference to consumption patterns.”

Diageo has encouraged customers to drink responsibly, stating that it is a member many industry-funded organisations that promote responsible drinking and discourage alcohol misuse, including Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society (MEAS) and DrinkAware.

Diageo has insisted that nobody who goes to a pub to see a band this Thursday is being forced to drink while they are there.

Its director of corporate affairs, Peter O'Brien, said that official figures show Ireland is drinking less and less alcohol.

“We know definitively that consumption is down,” he said. “Our overall point is – there are a small number of people in Ireland who misuse alcohol.”

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