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Alcohol ban 'would be devastating for sport'

THE loss of alcohol funding would be devastating to sport, which has already been hit by massive cuts to its government funding, a Dail committee has been told.

Government investment in sport has shrunk from €311m in 2008 to just €54m this year, meaning the loss of alcohol sponsorship would be very damaging, according to the Federation of Irish Sport, which represents over 100 sporting bodies.

Its chief executive Sarah O'Connor said that funding by the Irish Sports Council had also been cut from €57.6m in 2008 to just under €43m in 2013.

This decline had been matched by increased pressure on other revenue streams such as membership, ticket prices and sponsorship, she said.

She was speaking to the Oireachtas Committee on Tourism and Sport on a proposed ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events as part of efforts to tackle problem drinking in Ireland. She said: "Any policy such as the one under discussion... will gravely impact all sports' ability to sustain themselves financially."

The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland said alcohol sponsorship was worth around €30m to €40m a year and a ban on it would damage the valuable drinks industry and Irish tourism.

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