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Adams condemns Government decision not to ban alcohol sponsorship of sporting events

3 February, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the issue of minimum unit pricing of alcohol and a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports events with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny during Taoiseach’s Questions in the Dáil.

Speaking after the publication of the government’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill Gerry Adams condemned the failure of the government to introduce strong legislation to break the connection between alcohol sponsorship and sporting events.

Teachta Adams said:

“There are many proposals published in today Heads of Bill, including minimum unit pricing, which will be cautiously welcomed by many citizens and interest groups concerned at the hazardous consumption of alcohol and the culture of binge drinking.

“However, the government’s failure to ban alcohol sponsorship of sporting events is a disgraceful response to a very serious issue.

“It is a decision that flies in the face of all of the available medical evidence and smacks of a government acquiescing to pressure from the drinks industry.

“It also ignores clear evidence that the drinks industry deliberately exploits sport to promote alcohol. A study of 6,600 adolescents in four European countries, published in December 2012 by Amphora, an initiative of the European Commission, found that ‘Alcohol-branded sport sponsorship influences alcohol consumption among adolescents. Exposure to sport sponsoring can predict future drinking’.

“A report last week from University College Cork on hazardous alcohol consumption concluded that minimum unit pricing and a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports events is urgently needed.

Recently, Mick Loftus a former GAA President pointed out that; “Sponsorship of sport creates this culture that you cannot enjoy life without a drink, which is wrong and leads to problems like binge drinking. As a doctor and a former coroner, I know first-hand the damage alcohol does. Eighty-eight people a month die in this country due to alcohol related reasons. If that number of people were dying any other way they would be taking all sorts of action to try and stop it, but instead they are promoting it. If money comes before people, then it’s a sad day.”

“The government’s refusal to legislate to ban sports sponsorship by the drinks industry is indeed a sad day. The government has abdicated its responsibility to protect our young people and to tackle the serious problem of alcohol misuse.”

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