USI hit out at safe-drinking campaign

President of the Union of Student in Ireland, (USI) Laura Harmon, has hit out at the Stop Out-of-Control drinking campaign which she believes should be “disbanded”.

The campaign which aims to promote responsible drinking has been shrouded in controversy since its inception because of its affiliation with drinks industry giant, Diageo. In the wake of wide-spread criticism, the head of Diageo, David Smith, stepped down from the board of the project and has no further decision making power.

“The next time we see the report is when it’s published, there will be no input from Diageo,” Smith said, following his resignation from the board. However Diageo is still providing €1 million in funding to the initiative.

USI have called for the project to be abolished. USI VP for Welfare, Greg O’Donoghue, told The College View: “It’s still linked to the drinks industry so I do believe that it should be disbanded.”

He continued: “To run an alcohol awareness campaign it needs to be completely separate from the drink’s industry.”

Diageo chief, Smith’s resignation is the fourth resignation over the past few weeks.  President of DCU Brian MacCraith is among the members of the board of the campaign. He could not be reached for comment.

The Stop Out-of-Control drinking campaign was hatched in February and its intention is to curb the culture of alcohol abuse and binge-drinking in Ireland.

O’Donoghue listed the USI mental drinking campaign as an alternative resource for people looking for information on safe drinking. “We have our campaign which highlights the impact of binge drinking on youth mental health,” he said.  “We got funding for the campaign this year and we’re applying for funding again next year this is going to be an ongoing campaign going forward. It does need state investment. That is what we’re pushing for.”

Katie O’Neill

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