'New alcohol laws a ban on sponsoring sport' - Diageo
Drinks giant Diageo has claimed the Government's plan to crack down on alcohol advertising is an "effective ban on sports sponsorship through the back door".
The firm, whose Guinness brand sponsors the Pro 12 rugby tournament and the upcoming Galway Races, said that under the proposed regulations alcohol brands will be banned from referring to sport.
The remarks came in a note on the advertising provisions in the planned Public Health Alcohol Bill, which was sent to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
It followed a meeting between Diageo executives and Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor earlier this year where Brexit and exports were also on the agenda. In the document, Diageo argued the proposed laws were "draconian" as they would make it illegal to show images of people and pubs or "any notion of conviviality".
Last night, a Department of Health spokesman said the Bill is a priority for the Government.
He said it "addresses alcohol as a public health measure for the first time and includes a range of measures designed to collectively have a positive impact on the health and well-being of Irish people".
He said the Government wants to reduce alcohol consumption and factors contributing to misuse, including "affordability, availability and attractiveness". The Government intends for the Bill to pass during the next Dáil session.