Minister Pledges To End Alcohol Sponsorship Of Sports

The Minister of State for Health, Róisín Shortall, has pledged to end alcohol sponsorship of sports events.

“I am committed to phasing that out over a reasonable period of time,” she said in the Dáil. There is “no room for ambivalence in our approach”.

Ms Shortall was responding to Fianna Fáil spokesman on children, Charlie McConalogue, who asked if the Government was committed to banning “the advertising of alcohol in conjunction with sports events”.

The Donegal North East TD raised the issue following research published yesterday which found young people who drank to excess were more likely to suffer from severe depression, stress or anxiety. The Headstrong/UCD survey of 14,000 people aged from 12 to 25 found 38 per cent had problematic or harmful drinking behaviour, and 7 per cent of those surveyed showed signs of alcohol dependence.

Ms Shortall, who has responsibility for primary care, stressed that “we as a society can no longer tolerate the level of alcohol abuse in this country, particularly among young people”.

She said “there is no room for ambivalence in our approach”, adding that the Department of Health was working on “developing an action plan on alcohol based on the recommendations in the substance misuse strategy report”.

Recommendations from the majority report of the National Substance Misuse Steering Group, published in February, included a ban on all alcohol sponsorship of sporting and large outdoor events, as well as a ban on outdoor advertising of alcohol, higher excise duties on some alcohol products and the introduction of minimum pricing.


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