ONE of the bosses of Guinness Ireland has agreed to spend Arthur’s Day night in an Accident and Emergency department.
Diageo's European Corporate Relations Director Peter O’Brien said he’d be happy to spend the evening in an A&E department this Thursday, which is Arthur’s Day.
In an interview with Jonathan Healy on Newstalk, Mr O’Brien said he would view first-hand the impact of over-drinking has on an A&E ward.
“The reality is, people make choices, and some people choose to over-drink, and they end up in A&E. And every person who ends up in A&E is a bad thing. But you can’t lay that at the store of publicans or individual companies like ourselves.”
Asked whether he felt that Arthur’s Day was becoming a stigma for Guinness, O’Brien argued that the event brings together three things - the brand of Guinness, the pub, which is an iconic part of Irish culture, and music.
He stated that the vast majority of people would enjoy all three things responsibly.
However, Arthur’s Day has been coming in for sustained criticism in recent days.
Arthur's Day is an annual event organised by Diageo to celebrate the anniversary of the Guinness brewing company.
More than 500 music events featuring over 1,000 different acts will be held across the country on Thursday. Dublin band The Script are one of the main headliners of the event.
Singer Christy Moore has been very critical of the event and has dubbed the day "Arthur’s Alcoholiday".
He has even written a song by the same name and is planning to release it as a single on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Physicians Ireland (RCPI) has organised a public talk this evening aimed at highlighting the adverse effects drinking alcohol can have on the body.
It said that deaths related to chronic liver disease doubled between 1994 and 2008 while hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease nearly doubled between 1995 and 2007.
Liver disease specialist Dr Stephen Stewart, who will speak at the event on Monday, said he has treated patients as young as their 30s with end-stage liver disease who were unaware they had a drinking problem.
"We have a progressively worsening relationship with alcohol in Ireland, which manifests itself in the increasing numbers of young people dying from alcohol-related illnesses," Dr Stewart said.
The doctor, who serves as director of the Liver Disease Centre in the Mater Hospital, said deaths relating to cirrhosis of the liver have doubled between 1994 and 2008, and that hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease almost doubled between 1995 and 2007.
"Alcohol is more affordable than ever. Alcohol is more acceptable than ever. Alcohol is more available than ever," he said.
"We need measures to address this epidemic. Where does Arthur's Day fit into all of this?"