Diageo hits back at Arthur’s Day critics

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Evening Echo

DRINKS giant Diageo has hit back at criticism that  “naked marketing ” of Arthur ’s Day led to a spike in public order offences and mass drunkenness on Thursday night.
The Evening Echo reported yesterday that the Mercy Hospital ’s Accident and Emergency Department was put under severe pressure that night due to the  “semi-riotous ” behaviour of some revellers.
A senior medical source in the hospital said that staff had endured a  “desperate night ” due to the amount of drunkenness that spiralled  “out of control ”.
The hospital had almost 20 ambulance trips and 40 drink-related cases admitted.
However, Diageo said it had promoted sensible drinking and that the overwhelming majority of revellers had behaved.
Dublin city centre saw a 30% rise in ambulance call-outs between 6pm and 3am, while gardaí in Dublin said they were overwhelmed.
Gardaí all over the country said that they had been kept  “very busy ” for the fifth annual event.
Arthur ’s Day had been heavily marketed by Diageo as a day to  “celebrating the life and legacy of Arthur Guinness ”, the man who first brewed the drink. It led to 500 venues across Ireland signing up to the event.
Cork South Central Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, who is also chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, said that State agencies needed to reconsider their promotion of Arthur ’s Day.
He said:  “I was very disturbed at this event being held and I have difficulty with the naked marketing of it. ”
In a statement hitting back at the criticism, Diageo said:  “We promote responsible drinking and discourage alcohol misuse year-round through our support of drinkaware.ie and other resources for consumers. We are also in regular dialogue with publicans and venue managers.
 “As a consequence of these efforts, the overwhelming majority of consumers in Dublin and nationwide behaved responsibly throughout Arthur ’s Day. ”