Diageo says it will stay committed to Ireland

Diageo says it will stay committed to Ireland

Diageo has clarified that its remains "committed to Ireland" after its divisional boss warned it would cut investment if an alcohol sponsorship and advertising ban went ahead.

David Smith, Diageo's Ireland director, was quoted by the Sunday Business Post over the weekend as saying the proposals were just "political headlines". The plans from Ireland's Department of Health, which are currently under review, would see drinks companies prevented from sponsoring sporting events in the country and using outdoor advertising.

"If our Irish business is diminished by this, there is less need to invest. If we don't have the freedom we need in Ireland, we will pull back," Smith was quoted as saying. 

Outgoing Diageo CEO Paul Walsh also branded the plans "ridiculous" last year

However, in a statement to just-drinks today (17 June), a spokesperson said: “Diageo is absolutely committed to Ireland, and has shown this through its investment of nearly EUR160m (US$213.5m) in a new brewing centre of excellence, which is currently under construction and will be completed and fully operational next year."

The company also pointed to its EUR3m investment at its Smithwick's visitor centre, announced last week. 

"Our company wants to be able to continue with further investments in the future, but to do so requires a sustainable environment in which to promote our Irish-manufactured products responsibly," the spokesperson added.