‘Alcohol bill will not affect the Cork Jazz Festival this year’

‘Alcohol bill will not affect the Cork Jazz Festival this year’
Director Sinead Dunphy launches the Dia De Los Muertos Jazz Parade, which will open this year’s Guinness Cork Jazz Festival on Thursday. Picture Clare Keogh

THE organisers of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival say they have no fears about the impact of the new alcohol bill on the future of the festival.

The government passed the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill a fortnight ago. It had been before the Oireachtas for more than 1,000 days.

The bill includes new restrictions on the sale and advertising of alcohol in a bid to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland. Among the fears expressed by opponents of the new legislation was that it would impact on sponsorship deals with sports clubs and events such as the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, which is due to get underway in just over a week.

Members of the OhnO! Jazz Band, from the Netherlands, during the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival last year. 	Picture: Denis Minihane
Members of the OhnO! Jazz Band, from the Netherlands, during the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival last year. Picture: Denis Minihane

More than 1,000 musicians from 20 countries will take part in the festival, which is worth an estimated €35 million to the local economy.

However, Sinéad Dunphy, the new festival director at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, said she has no fears about the future of the event. In fact, Ms Dunphy said she has already started booking acts for 2019 and 2020.

"Ultimately, the bill passed and Diageo has been very supportive of the work that the government has been doing and working with them rather than against them, which is important," she said.

"It is about protecting the industry, which affects a lot more than just one festival, and the wider community. I don't think anyone has any undue concerns and we will continue to work with them as the bill is rolled out."

A statement issued by Diageo said that the drinks manufacturer supports the aim of the new regulations.

"Diageo supports the Government’s ambition to reduce the impact of alcohol misuse and we are willing to work closely with Government and its agencies to maximise the impact of any evidence-based and effective legislation. Tackling alcohol misuse in a holistic way requires all the actors in this space to work together in a collaborative and engaged way if we want to make a real impact."

Diageo added that they will continue to work with the government in the coming months to ensure that 'whatever is implemented is workable and proportionate.'

"While we believe that some of the restrictions that will apply to advertising and labelling will not be as effective as suggested and are likely to hurt the 92,000 jobs in the sector, we are nevertheless eager to work with the Government in the coming months to ensure that whatever is implemented is workable and proportionate.

"We take our responsibility to educate people about alcohol very seriously and we work to ensure alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. We invested over €3 million in the last three years to help tackle underage drinking, drink driving and excessive or binge drinking. We were also the first global company to voluntarily include nutrition and alcohol content, thereby demonstrating our commitment to providing consumers with information they need to make informed choices."

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