Rape Crisis Network commends USI break with drinkaware.ie

Lia Flattery

Staff Writer

The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) has issued a statement in support of the Union of Students in Ireland’s decision to drop its association with drinkaware.ie.

In a statement to Trinity News, RCNI director, Fiona Neary, said that, “The promotion of alcohol consumption by drinkaware was rightly recognised by the Union of Students in Ireland as a normalising influence which strongly targets young people.”

According to a 2009 report cited by Ms Neary, 77% of individuals suspected of rape had been drinking prior to committing the offence.

The drinkaware.ie campaign aims to encourage responsible drinking among young people but receives funding from brands within the alcohol industry, such as Diageo, which organises the yearly Arthur’s Day music festival.

In a statement earlier this week, USI President, Joe O’Connor, said that, “Encouraging students to drink responsibly is still an encouragement for students to drink- regardless of how it’s qualified.” USI announced yesterday that it is to sever all ties with the campaign in a row over the issue of Arthur’s Day promotion.

USI intends to produce an independent responsible drinking campaign in the future, in collaboration with other organisations that are not financially dependent upon the drinks industry.