Monday 26 September 2016

Psychiatrists urge ban on alcohol sponsors for sport

Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30

Young woman drinking wine from bottle
Young woman drinking wine from bottle

The body representing the country's psychiatrists is to call for a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events, claiming research supports that the measure would reduce alcohol abuse.

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Dr John Hillery, Director of Public Education at the College of Psychiatrists, said the call - to be made in a pre-Budget submission next week - is based on doctors' own clinical experience with patients and research from the London Institute of Alcohol Studies.

"We also support minimum pricing. They are two effective weapons in reducing abuse of alcohol which can result in impulsive behaviour and lead to self-harm," he told the Irish Independent.

However, the move contrasts with the report of the Stop-Out-of-Control Drinking group, which was funded by the drinks giant Diageo.

That report does not support a ban on drinks' sponsorship of sporting events after the board commissioned a review of on the subject.

The board, chaired by Barnardo's chief Fergus Finlay, said they were completely independent and none of the 11 members, who gave their services for free, had any links with the alcohol industry.

Earlier this year it was embroiled in controversy after the Diageo sponsorship was questioned and several board members resigned.

The report said there needs to be a "generational shift" in drinking culture to deliver a 30pc reduction in alcohol misuse in a decade. A key measure to achieve this is a State-funded foundation.

The report references studies which were examined by the group.

Prof Kevin Rafter of Dublin City University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences was commissioned to examine studies and the board also did their own review.

Mr Finlay said its proposals call "for a mature and open approach otherwise we will be having the same conversation in 20 years time".

The Government's proposed legislation to curb alcohol abuse includes minimum pricing and it will review drinks sponsorship in three years time.

Asked about the sponsorship stand, a spokesman for the campaign group said: "There is no comment from individuals, only the board's views as a collective."

Irish Independent

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