With the average Irish drinker consuming the equivalent of a bottle of whiskey per week in Ireland, doctors are looking for ways to lower the countries consumption rates.
In 2012 A proposal was put forward to the Department of Health Steering Group that would phase-out alcohol sponsorships for sporting and cultural events by 2016. The group Alcohol Action Ireland sees the practice of alcohol sponsorship as a form of early indoctrination. They described Irish drinking culture as a conveyor belt that creates a steady supply of heavy drinkers that will support the alcohol industry. The alcohol advertising is a sign of this trend they say.
Professor Joe Barry of Alcohol Action Ireland said that many of the sporting bodies that benefit most from alcohol advertising flat out deny or dismiss the evidence of the harm they are incurring.
“In Australia, it has been proposed that the taxes collected through excise duty on alcohol should be used to fill the gap. We are saying we need to exert some pressure. Alcohol is causing harm; we have big problems. What we are talking about here is sponsorship and high-profile bombardment by the large alcohol companies of the major sporting bodies.,” Barry said.
Barry went on to say that the leading causes of death among young Irish men are accidents and suicide, both of which have been strongly linked to alcohol consumption.
“We all know that alcohol commonly has a role in accidents. We also know from Irish research that it is a contributory factor in half of all suicides and that the majority of young men who kill themselves are drunk at the time,” Barry said.
Barry and several other researchers see alcohol advertising as something of an accelerator pedal for alcohol consumption. The more advertising people see, the more likely they are to drink. The researchers say that the alcohol industries demands for more proof that their advertising fuels drinking are arrogant.
By limiting the peoples exposure to alcohol related advertising, Barry and his colleagues hope to reduce drinking among the most affected groups, particularly young men who account for a large volume of sports fans.