A DRINKS company executive has said he will spend Arthur's night in a hospital A&E department – but said he is not responsible if people end up drunk.
Peter O'Brien, who is European corporate relations director of Diageo and chairman of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, promised he would report back on what he witnesses at the hospital.
His move comes amid growing concern at the level of alcohol and drunkenness which the Arthur's Day celebrations, marking the legacy of Arthur Guinness, may bring to the streets. Mr O'Brien said others in his organisation had gone to A&E hospital departments in London. "It's a frightening place," he told Newstalk radio.
"The reality is, people make choices, and some people choose to over-drink, and they end up in A&E," he said.
"And every person who ends up in A&E is a bad thing. But you can't lay that at the door of publicans or individual companies like ourselves."
He insisted the vast majority of people would enjoy the night responsibly.
Speaking at the launch of a report on the "Economic Contribution of the Drinks Industry 2013" he rejected suggestions that drinks companies should make a financial contribution to hospitals. "We sell a product in an entirely responsible manner. It is properly labelled and only sold to people of legal drinking age.
"The idea that we would be penalised for doing the job we do legally and responsibly is very unfair," he added.