Revellers raise a glass

FINE Gael is split on whether Dublin City Council should associate itself with Arthur's Day after the council said it had made a mistake in doing so.

As previously reported in the Sunday Tribune, officials admitted the city's support of the event was an "oversight" following concerns about its ties with promoting alcohol consumption.

However, Guinness producer Diageo has now been asked to make a presentation to the council on its potential commercial benefits to the city.

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), which expressed its concerns to the council recently, said: "We do not think it's appropriate to use public space to promote an alcohol-sponsored event, the aim of which is to increase [its] consumption."

However, a motion has been tabled at Dublin City Council in which the future association will be reviewed – a move that has split Fine Gael.

The pro-Arthur's Day position is being championed by Cllr Eoin Murphy, who asked the council to consider its benefits to the city.

He disagreed with the notion that supporting the event would encourage people to drink: "If the council were to support such nonsense by revoking its cooperation with events because they are sponsored by alcohol companies, it would be grossly irresponsible." He said the event represents significant opportunities to business interests in the city.

However, his party leader Cllr Bill Tormey has vehemently disagreed, stating on his blog: "I demurred and still do; I waved the Guardian newspaper front page of that day on the Lancet publication on alcohol being the most destructive societal intoxicant.

"I am opposed to advertising stunts which promote alcohol consumption."