Recommendations by an Oireachtas committee for the continued alcohol sponsorship of sporting events have been criticised by health campaigners.
As revealed in the Irish Examiner yesterday, the committee on transport and communications has recommended retaining alcohol sponsorship and has instead suggested stricter codes of conduct for the drinks industry and more funds for addiction services.
The recommendations were rejected by health campaigners, other TDs, and Alex White, junior minister responsible for alcohol misuse. Mr White said sporting bodies would have opportunities to look for alternative funding.
“Is it not right that we should break the link between alcohol and sport? For me it’s counterintuitive to have such a close link between alcohol and sport,” he said.
The committee recommended stricter rules for drink firms promoting alcohol and for more funds to be ringfenced for addiction services.
It said a ban on drink sponsorship would need to be implemented on a European-wide basis.
The committee chairman, John O’Mahony TD, said Ireland could not be “fenced off” when it came to funding arrangements for sports. Sporting bodies were already facing a shortage in funds, he said.
Alcohol Action Ireland said sports organisations were “too dependent” on alcohol sponsorship.
Doctors described the committee’s recommendations as “short sighted”.
Countries where alcohol policies became more restrictive saw a decrease in consumption, doctors with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland said.
Labour politicians on the committee also said they had disagreed with the final recommendations.
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland called for “evidence-based solutions” to deal with alcohol misuse.
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