One thousand artists perform for Arthur’s Day celebrations

Diageo to ‘contribute’ to extra policing costs associated with event, Seanad hears

 

Over 1,000 music artists are performing at 500 venues across the country this evening as part of the fifth annual Arthur’s Day celebration.

Manic Street Preachers, Emeli Sandé, Biffy Clyro, Kodaline, James Vincent McMorrow, Ham Sandwich and The Script are some of the headline acts taking part in the Diageo-organised event, which has attracted much criticism in recent weeks for the level of drinking it inspires.

Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power told the Seanad today that Diageo had agreed to contribute to some of the extra policing costs associated with the event, but said this didn’t go far enough.

“I strongly believe that Diageo should cover the full cost of all of the extra Gardaí that are being drafted in tonight to police Arthur’ s Day events,” she said.

“Given that Diageo posted profits of €4 billion in profits last year, it is unacceptable that they should take all the profits from this hugely successful commercial event without meeting the full public cost of it.”

Diageo’s marketing director Tanya Clarke said earlier this week that blaming Arthur’s Day for Ireland’s problematic relationship with alcohol was unfair, and the company will continue to invest in the event as long as the public supports it.

All marketing strategies were kept under constant review by the company, but there were no plans to bow to pressure to scrap or curtail the event, she added.

She said that customer surveys showed there continued to be close to 90 per cent support for Arthur’s Day and, although she accepted that the debate surrounding the event was likely to be “heated” this week, “it would be wrong to change things for that reason”.

Peter O’Brien of Diageo, who is chairman of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, said that Arthur’s Day was “a celebration of the Irish pub” as well as of the food, drink and entertainment that existed there and it deserved support.

For a full list of tonight’s events, see guinness.com.

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