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Banning alcohol sponsorship of sport is 'based on opinion, not evidence'

Former GAA president Seán Kelly has hit out at proposals to ban alcohol companies from sponsoring major sporting events.

Seán Kelly (File photo)
Seán Kelly (File photo)
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL MEP and former GAA President Seán Kelly has claimed that the banning of alcohol sponsorship of major sporting events is based on opinion rather than evidence.

He told RTÉ Radio this morning that the effects of such a ban could be negative in the long term.

Kelly was responding to a Sunday Times report at the weekend that the government is to hear revised proposals from the junior health minister Alex White which will ban alcohol sponsorship of sporting events from 2020, however arts and cultural events will be excluded.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Kelly claimed that there had been a 17 per cent increase in alcohol abuse among young people in France where a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport was introduced in the 90s.

“The effects could be negative in the long-term,” Kelly said while insisting that many of the measures proposed, including minimum pricing of alcohol, are good ideas.

But he cautioned on the sports ban, saying: “It might not make any difference to the problem which we are trying to deal with.

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“It would curtail the ability of sports to promote their sport at grassroots level and that would have negative effect on the health of young people and the enjoyment etcetera.”

Kelly said there was “no scientific evidence that it’s going to have any effect whatsoever” and said that the government should look to replace the sponsorship of sport by alcohol companies in a “proportionate manner” if the measure is to be introduced.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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