Alcohol Action responds to Irish Times article on sponsorship of arts events

Our letter to the Irish Times, 29 June

With respect to your article ‘Alcohol Bill will cut €8.5m sponsorship of arts events says drink industry’ (26 June), the observations outlined are unnecessarily alarmist and regrettably mistaken.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill contains a range of measures designed to work together to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland so lessening alcohol related harms. Implemented together, they will provide a reasonable, pragmatic means to achieving the ambition of this progressive public health initiative.

The drinks industry, as the article outlines ‘warns’ that certain arts sponsorship is ‘under threat’. This is typical of the divisive language that has calculatingly sown the seed of doubt in legislator’s minds and caused over 500 days of an inexcusable delay to the Bill’s passage.

The Bill does not propose any prohibition on alcohol sponsorship of the arts. Nor does it propose to prohibit advertising of alcohol products.

The Bill does contain a modest set of regulations that will limit the appeal of alcohol advertising, particularly to children. This will minimise its impact so that alcohol products can no longer align with performance, success, social inclusion or a variety of other positive outcomes.

Curiously, the article also highlights Dublin Pride Week’s association with one alcohol brand however it fails to recognise the generous contribution of the thirty-six other non-alcohol sponsors. Equally, the Galway International Arts, who have secured seven title sponsors for their exciting 2017 programme, four of who are publicly funded, admirably declare that ‘the show must go on’. And, so it will.



The Original Article from Tuesday 27 June: