Ban on Sponsorship could close Galway Festivals - Michael Crowe

Galway City mayor Michael Crowe has today called on Health Minister Mary Harney to postpone any ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events until we have a full economic recovery.

The Galway city Mayor made his comments amid concerns that the Galway races could lose key sponsorship from Diageo and be forced to reduce the duration of the festival.

Hitting out at a recent report - published by the Working Group on Sports Sponsorship by the Alcohol Industry, Department of Health and Children - Galway Mayor Michael Crowe described the move as being potentially “catastrophic to the tourist economy of Galway”.

“While the report has failed to make any recommendations it is clear from its original terms of reference that a group of bureaucrats in Dublin are fixated with phasing out alcohol sponsorship,” said Mayor Crowe “There is a view that ending sponsorship will lessen the levels of alcohol consumption amongst young people. This ignores the facts that there are a host of factors that are causing alcohol abuse. Banning sponsorship alone will not address such a complex issue.”

A number of festivals in Galway depend very heavily on alcohol sponsorship and it is unlikely in the current economic climate that replacements could be found. In particular the Galway races have a number of races sponsored by Diageo.

“Most sports clubs in the west have been badly hit by the economic downturn and any further bans on sponsorship from specific industry sectors at this stage could threaten the very existence of many of these clubs,” said Galway Mayor Michael Crowe.