Alcohol sponsorship - Advertise responsibly

An attempt is to be made this evening at the annual convention of the Mayo GAA to ban alcohol sponsorship logos from the Mayo inter-county jersey.

Of course, there is no obvious advertising involved in this. For decades, tobacco companies advertised their cigarettes by sponsoring major events. This amounted to a kind of subliminal advertising. This country has a proud record in being one of the first countries to ban tobacco advertising, long before we blazed a further trail in banning smoking in the work place.

Alcohol and tobacco advertisers sought to make such practices glamorous. This was socially reckless, and society should be aware of the dangers.

The motion at this evening’s meeting is aimed at preventing children going around wearing jerseys advertising alcoholic drinks. Drink companies are already targeting popular sports with their sponsorship.

Guinness sponsors the all-Ireland senior hurling championship, while Heineken sponsors the premier rugby competition in Europe. But in France the Heineken Cup is known simply as the H Cup, because of restrictions on alcohol sponsorship.

It is crazy that children should be enticed to wear popular jerseys advertising alcohol products. This is an deplorable form of child enticement.

What may have begun as small logos turned into virtual banners for Carling and Tennent’s Lager on the jerseys of Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow, and Carlsberg on the Liverpool jersey.

The Mayo GAA can set a good example in protecting our children this evening by banning such advertising.

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