HomeFootballSport is no place for alcohol advertising, insists Mayo star Pádraig O’Hora

Sport is no place for alcohol advertising, insists Mayo star Pádraig O’Hora


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The Mayo defender has also called for a blanket ban on all alcohol branding at, or sponsorship of, sporting events in this country, insisting they are “unsuitable” for the environs.

O’Hora, who first publicly voiced his opinions in an appearance on RTÉ’s Upfront With Kate Hannon last month, explained that he had given up alcohol a number of years ago.

“It’s something that has impacted my life,” he outlined.

Today’s Sport News in 90 Seconds – 24th April

Insisting the people should have autonomy when it comes to alcohol consumption, O’Hora stressed, “I do have an issue with marketing and utilising sports to promote alcohol.

“I wouldn’t like to be associated with alcohol branding because we’re sports persons. None of us drink really, in season anyway, because we know it’s no good to us.

“There’s a law there anyway. They’re breaching the law anyway. But they’re using 0.0 application to get around it but they’re still in breach. But it’s powers above me that should be holding them accountable.

“That’s my opinion on it. That’s my stance. I don’t think they should be marketing towards young people through sports.”

Section 15 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 bans alcohol advertising “in or on the sports field of play”.

However, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) say these products use the same logo and trademark of the parent alcohol brand and claim this breaches Irish health legislation, a move which Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has described in May of last year as “cynical”.

Guinness has been the title sponsor of the men’s and women’s Six Nations rugby tournaments, in a deal reported to be worth €17.5m per year.

In late 2021, the long-awaited new legislation around sport and alcohol promotion came into force with Government guidelines that “alcohol advertising on a sports area, e.g. a football pitch, is prohibited”.

The prohibitions do not include the hoardings around the pitch, however, and while the Guinness logo is emblazoned on those prime advertising real estate around Six Nations venues, the ‘0.0’ logo is used on the pitch.

In 2008, the GAA abandoned the sole title sponsor arrangement for the championships and while Guinness remained on board as part of the multi-brand model, they left in 2013.

There are no alcohol brands on the perimeter hoardings at any GAA ground either, although there will be for Leinster’s sell-out European Cup match against Northampton on May 4.

The sale of alcohol will, however, be prohibited.

“The GAA are frontrunners when it comes to alcohol branding,” O’Hora stressed. “Credit where it’s due, they’re hugely out in front. They’re pro-active and they’re trying to do the right thing.

“It’s not part of our marketing. But it is heavily involved in other sports. As is gambling – two absolute poisons on society. No benefit has come to anybody from either of them.”

O’Hora admitted that he “wasn’t a great drinker” in the past but is able to socialise with team-mates, despite no longer consuming alcohol.

“Like we won a county title last year. We were in the pub for nearly three days.

“I was there for the best part of it. I didn’t drink. You can still do it. You can still socialise. It is a bit awkward-ish, I suppose but when you’ve got something to . . .

“I don’t go out really because I don’t drink and there is no real grá to go out. There is nothing there for me, whereas if you win a county title or you have a good run with Mayo – whatever happens, you get an opportunity to go and socialise with your mates, you take it.

“I don’t think alcohol has to be the be all and end all. For example we won in New York and there was obviously the opportunity to go out and have a night out in New York.

“I was there and had good craic. I think one or two others didn’t drink too, actually to be honest.”

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