Ministers show support for phasing out of alcohol sponsorship of sports

  • Post category:Newsletter

MINISTER Roisin Shorthall has reiterated her commitment to phasing out of alcohol sponsorship of sports in Ireland as part of an overhaul of alcohol marketing, a key recommendation of the National Substance Misuse Strategy.

Minister Shorthall, speaking in the Dail last week, said there is “no room for ambivalence in our approach” and pointed out that the Department of Health is currently working on developing an action plan based on National Substance Misuse Strategy recommendations.

The Minister’s comments were in response to Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue, who highlighted an incident in his Donegal North East constituency last October when 26 students were admitted to Letterkenny General Hospital following what the deputy called a “99c drinks promotion”.

Minister Shortall’s Department of Health Colleague, Minister Kathleen Lynch also referred to the need to curb alcohol marketing when she launched youth mental health charity Headstrong’s recent report showing the prevalence of alcohol use among teenagers and young adults in Ireland and the links between alcohol and mental health issues.

The National Substance Misuse Strategy report recommends the phasing out of alcohol sponsorship by 2016. Minister Shorthall’s reiteration of her commitment to ensuring that this recommendation is acted upon is particularly welcome in the face of vocal opposition from not just the alcohol industry and leading national sporting bodies but also a number of her senior ministerial colleagues.

Alcohol Action Ireland as a member of the National Substance Misuse Strategy steering group advocated for a phasing out of alcohol sponsorship of sports in Ireland arguing that it is effectively another way of advertising alcohol with the aim of promoting sales. We will be revisiting the issue in greater detail in September when we will turn the spotlight on the issue with contributions from a number of leading experts in their respective fields – sporting and otherwise.