‘Alcohol bill will not affect jazz festival’

‘Alcohol bill will not affect jazz festival’
Ref: Guiness Jazz Festival Cork: The New York Brass Band from Yorkshire, England who took part in the Jazz Parade part of the Cork Guiness Jazz Festival. Pic: Gavin Browne

THE Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is not under threat by the proposed Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, a city councillor and community activist has said. 

Concerns were raised this week that events, such as the October Jazz Festival, will struggle to continue because of the restrictions surrounding alcohol advertising. 

However, City Councillor Mick Nugent said there was too much scare-mongering surrounding the Bill. 

“There is no imminent threat to the Jazz Festival These comments are just excitable.”

The councillor, who said he supports the proposed Bill emphatically in its current form, said it would only restrict alcohol advertising in certain scenarios.

“There may be some limits on alcohol ads that portray people and drinking in a certain way, but that is simply necessary.” 

Cllr Nugent, who is part of the Community Action on Alcohol on the Northside group, said there have been attempts to water down the bill and it is uncalled for.

“The jazz festival is a well-established event that provides a significant boost to the local economy.

“People come for the social occasion and the music and everyone on the Jazz trail do well so I can’t see any of the sponsors backing away from it.

“The Bill is no threat to the Jazz festival.” 

In contrast to this, the Director of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) Patricia Callan said the Bill would have a direct effect on the festival.

Ms Callan said the advertising provisions contained in the Bill will decrease the volume and value of sponsorship partnerships for drinks companies.

“Typically a multiple of 3-5 times the value of the original sponsorship is spent activating a sponsorship through advertising.

“If this becomes problematic or restricted, then the value of the original sponsorship agreement becomes significantly devalued.” 

A spokesperson for Alcohol Action Ireland Eunan McKinney said the Bill is very important to safeguard the youth of the nation.

“The drinks industry spend over €1m per week on alcohol advertising in 2016, while last year every adult in Ireland, over 15 years old, consumed 11.46 litres of pure alcohol.

Mr McKinney also emphasised that the Bill would have no effect on the sponsorship of events, such as the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

“The measures in the Bill on sponsorship are extremely limited focusing on three specific event type: Motor racing, an event where the majority of participants are children, or an event aimed specifically at children.

Speaking about the opposition to the Bill, Mr McKinney said: “The alcohol industry is a national and multi-national, multi-billion euro industry; any measure aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and addressing the known related harms will be, and has been, vigorously opposed by the industry and their lobbyists.”

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