Department of health group recommends ending of drinks industry sport sponsorship
A SPECIAL report from the Department of Health expert group has recommended that sponsorship of sport and large events by the drinks industry be phased out by 2016.
The report, compiled by the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group, was established to identify ways of tackling alcohol misuse.
It also recommended legislation for minimum alcohol pricing as well as a 9pm watershed for alcohol advertising on TV and radio.
According to the group, a “social responsibility” levy should also be imposed on the drinks industry.
The Department’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said alcohol was responsible for 88 deaths each month in 2008.
The expert group report says that alcohol is associated with 2,000 hospital beds being occupied every night.
The related illness cost is over €1.2bn a year.
A lobby group MEAS, which represents the drinks industry, has accused the group of being prejudiced.
It said it agreed with many of the recommendations but was opposed to any levy on alcohol and to moves to reduce the "low risk" weekly drinking guidelines.
And the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), the industry's main representative group, added that while agreeing with and welcoming the majority of the recommendations contained in today’s National Substance Misuse Strategy Group publication, the report as a whole is a missed opportunity to address the very serious issue of alcohol misuse.