Letters – proposed Alcohol Bill will presents problems for event sponsorship

Sir,

Further to the letter by Eunan McKinney of Alcohol Action Ireland on the 28th of June, where he claims “The Bill does not propose any prohibition on alcohol sponsorship of the arts. Nor does it propose to prohibit advertising of alcohol products”.

This is misleading as advertising is a crucial part of the sponsorship package as brands “activate” sponsorship through advertisements and if this becomes problematic or restricted, then the value of the original sponsorship agreement (for both the sponsor and the event) becomes significantly devalued and potentially worthless.

Strict new measures contained in the Bill will effectively ban outdoor advertising and new content restrictions will ban images of people or conviviality which would include for example images of people in an Irish pub enjoying music.

For example, The Cork Jazz Festival draws 40,000 people and provides €15 million to the local economy per annum and sponsorship is vital to making this event happen every year. We want to work with Government to find a much more workable solution, which we suggest is to place the existing stringent advertising codes on a statutory footing, with significant penalties for breaches.

This could be implemented within a much shorter timeframe with a regulatory authority already in place to police the system.

Yours, etc,

Patricia Callan, 
Director,
 Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), 
Lower Baggot Street,
 Dublin 2.

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