An Oireachtas Committee has opposed a ban on alcohol sponsorship at sporting events saying clubs and organisations would suffer inordinately.
Instead the Transport and Communications Committee says some of the money should be ring fenced for substance abuse programmes.
It says banning sponsorship by drinks companies should only be considered if it is done in other European countries so sporting organisations here are not at a disadvantage.
The Cabinet is considering an action plan to address alcohol abuse in Ireland and the proposals to ban alcohol sponsorship at sporting events have divided opinion.
The Minister for Health James Reilly has already said he supports the ban whilst the Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar has expressed concern about the potential loss of funding.
The proposals are contained in a Committee report published this morning. The Committee also recommended that:
- Sponsorship of sports and sporting events be treated in the same way as sponsorship of the arts, music and other festivals
- All sporting organisations be encouraged to support programmes which contribute to social inclusion in order to reduce the abuse of alcohol, particularly among young people
- A Code of Practice for the consumption of alcohol within stadia be drawn-up by all sporting organisations
- Prohibition on sponsorship by the alcohol industry be considered only if it is done on a pan-European basis in order to ensure that Irish sports and sporting organisations are not operating at a disadvantage relative to their international competitors
Vice-Chairperson of the Committee John O'Mahony says there were differences of opinions among Committee members as well. But he says they had no other option but to oppose the ban because of the current economic realities.