Diageo Ireland chief steps down from board of anti-alcohol abuse campaign

LISTEN: The drinks group will continue to fund the body

Diageo Ireland chief steps down from board of anti-alcohol abuse campaign

The Diageo Claive Scotch Whisky collection the worlds largest collection of Scotch whisky | Image: Davis Cheskin / PA WIRE

The head of Diageo Ireland has announced he is stepping down from the board of the 'Stop Out of Control Drinking' campaign.

A statement from David Smith says he is pulling out after board members were put under pressure because of a perceived lack of independence with Diageo on the board.

"Since the launch of the campaign many of our board members have been subjected to unwarranted pressure because of a perceived lack of independence given the involvement of Diageo on the board," he said.

"To ensure that the board members can work to the best of their abilities and carry out the objectives of the campaign without further pressure and distraction I will no longer sit on the board of the campaign."

"Tackling alcohol misuse is far more important than whether or not Diageo are represented on the board and I believe this will allow the board to now focus their considerable passion and talent on listening to the public and recommending solutions that will work," he added.

He also went on to thank members and supporters for their continued support.

David Smith, Diageo Director, spoke to Lunchtime today and stated that he has made the right move, and that their funding will remain in place.

This move follows a huge amount of criticism over the drinks giant being involved in a campaign to tackle alcohol abuse.

The Health Minister Leo Varadkar told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk that Mr Smith's move is the right decision.

A social campaigner and founder of Spunout.ie, Ruairi McKiernan, says Diageo is still behind the campaign - including funding it - and he is not satisfied.