Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the drinks industry to be honest when engaging in the debate on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. This week, the Alcohol Beverage Federation Ireland (ABFI) made claims that over €8.5 million would be cut from cultural events should the bill be enacted.

In response, Senator Warfield said:

“At no point in the Bill does it suggest any attempt to stifle alcohol sponsorship at cultural events. The Bill is aimed to limit the visibility of alcohol advertising to children and ensure advertising appears in a responsible fashion. There is absolutely no need for alcohol companies to hold the cultural sector to ransom. I noted at the recent Dublin Pride Festival, of the 27 sponsors, only one was an alcohol company.

“There are three alcohol-related deaths in Ireland every day and alcohol currently places a huge burden on our health service, taking up an estimated 1,500 hospital beds every night. €1.5 billion was spent in hospital discharges in 2012 according to the Health Research Board, and this is not inclusive of the significant costs incurred by our emergency departments. Alcohol is classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and in Ireland, the proportion of alcohol related deaths from cancer is higher than the European average.

“Sinn Féin believes that this Bill is in danger of being hindered by disinformation and, due to its intended positive impact on public health, it must be reintroduced by the government to the Seanad without further delay.”