Alcohol industry spokesperson denies marketing to young people

A representative of the alcohol industry in Ireland has today denied that drinks companies are not trying to sell their products to young people through sports sponsorship.

Yesterday, Junior Minister for Health Roisin Shortall made it clear that she would like to see the practice banned here.

She told her Dáil colleagues that contractual arrangements currently in place prevent the immediate implementation of a ban, but she also confirmed that she's working with national sporting bodies to agree a proposal on the phasing out of alcohol sponsorship.

Kathryn D'Arcy of the Alcohol Beverage Association of Ireland says that alcohol misuse is a serious problem in Ireland and needs to be tackled, but this initiative would not achieve that.

"Any big event, whatever event it is, whether it's a large cultural event or a large sporting event the reasons that any company would sponsor it is to ensure that their brands are promoted," she said.

"If I sponsor an event with a particular product, am I looking for somebody to buy more of it or young people to buy more of it? I'm actually looking for you to buy my product over my competitors product - it's actually about brand differentiation."

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