Alcohol Bill endangers the future of the Cork Jazz Festival says Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland

Strict new measures proposed in the Public Health Alcohol Bill (PHAB) to restrict advertising will effectively ban sponsorship and pose a huge risk to the Cork Jazz Festival according to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI). The measures if implemented will also undermine Government support for the creative industries and the role of the arts which support economic growth and balanced regional development. 

Speaking about the impact of the advertising restrictions Patricia Callan, Director of ABFI said, “The Cork Jazz Festival is one of the country’s most sought after events, attracting over 40,000 visitors to the City annually and directly benefitting the local economy to the tune of €15 million. The drinks industry provides almost €8.5 million in sponsorship to over 50 arts, sporting and cultural events around the country which is essential to their viability and sustainability. These events showcase some of Ireland’s finest sporting and cultural contributions and have multiple economic dividends including job creation, tourism, regional development in addition to enhancing Ireland’s reputation abroad”.

“Measures proposed in the Public Health Alcohol Bill will effectively ban sponsorship opportunities through a variety of advertising restrictions for the cultural sector in Ireland, which will threaten the Cork Jazz Festival amongst other cultural events. The advertising provisions contained within the Bill will decrease the volume and value of sponsorship partnerships for drinks companies and will restrict the ability of drinks companies to activate sponsorship campaigns through advertising by making sponsorship practically valueless to the sponsor.

“The severity of the content restrictions means that that images of conviviality (such as a scene in an Irish pub), images of a person consuming alcohol or indeed images of people will be banned. It’s hard to fathom but it will mean the banning of the iconic Guinness Christmas advert. The hugely restrictive nature of the Bill will make activating any cultural and sporting sponsorships extremely difficult and potentially impossible and present a real threat to Cork. A much more workable solution is to place the existing codes on a statutory footing, with significant penalties for breaches. This could be implemented within a much shorter short timeframe with a regulatory authority already in place to police the system”.

Commenting on the impact of the Bill, Chairperson of the Cork Jazz Festival, Fiona Collins said “The proposals contained in this Bill will I believe, have hugely damaging unintended consequences for the festival and cultural events in Ireland. The cultural sector has been hit hard in recent years of recession and due to a limited pool of sponsorship opportunities, private partnerships are an integral part of making Cork Jazz happen every year. The advertising provisions contained in the Bill pose a significant threat to the viability of the Cork Jazz Festival and will leave a funding vacuum, creating real concern and uncertainty around Cork’s flagship event”.