Monday 23 October 2017

Fresh row over ban on alcohol sponsors in sport

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

JUNIOR Health Minister Alex White has said that the connection between sport and alcohol is "wrong" and should be broken.

His comments came as a fresh row was brewing over plans to ban advertising by alcohol companies at sporting events.

The Cabinet is considering proposals to address alcohol addiction, which include a plan to stop alcohol sponsorship of sports events by 2020.

Sports Minister Leo Varadkar has opposed a ban. Mr White has been backed by Labour colleagues in supporting it.

Yesterday, the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications waded into the row and recommended that the proposed ban be dropped.

However, Mr White has restated his support for the ban.

"My view is that we should break the link between alcohol and sport," he said.

WHOLESOME

"I think sport is a wholesome activity that we try and encourage people to be involved in, particularly young people, and I think the connection with alcohol is wrong," he added.

Acting chairman John O'Mahony said the majority of the committee believed there was insufficient evidence of a link between sports sponsorship and alcohol use.

Mr O'Mahony said that the loss of revenue suffered by sports clubs if such a ban was imposed would damage the good work that they do.

Before issuing the report, the committee heard representations opposing the ban from sporting bodies and the drinks industry while representatives from the medical profession supported it. The committee recommended a percentage of sponsorship paid by alcohol companies to sports organisations should be ring-fenced to reduce alcohol misuse.

Alcohol Action Ireland accused the committee of ignoring the evidence on the impact of alcohol marketing on young people. Meanwhile, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland supported the report.

Irish Independent

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