28/09/2012

SDLP Cancels "Irresponsible" Pub Crawl

The SDLP has been forced to apologise following news that its youth-wing organised a cheap pub crawl for students.

The £1-a-drink pub crawl was advertised through promotions on the party’s Twitter site and through leaflets being handed out to first year Queen’s University students attending this week’s Freshers’ Fair.

Flyers handed out by the youth wing offered "3 for £5 on bottled beers", a "shots ladder" and "£1 shots" of spirits such as Jaegermeister, Sourz and Aftershock.

The event, which was due to begin at The Eg on Belfast's Malone Road, has been cancelled, but it seems the action is too little, too late for the party, which had only recently spoken out on Northern Ireland’s binge drinking culture.

The death of 20-year-old Belfast man Joby Murphy in January led to calls for a rethink on Northern Ireland’s drinking culture. The man died after he fell into the Lagan.

Mr Murphy’s father blamed cheap drink deals following revelations he had been drinking £1 shots of vodka at a Belfast bar.

In March the SDLP’s Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced he wanted to "get tough" on cheap drinks promotions and suggested making it more difficult for those venues offering such deals to obtain an entertainments licence.

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey said the SDLP Youth pub crawl ran "contrary to the Environment Minister Alex Attwood’s promise to stamp out such promotions and curtail binge drinking.

"It is not only totally irresponsible but also shows poor leadership by the party", he said.

In a statement issued last night, a spokesman for the SDLP told the Belfast Telegraph the distribution of the flyer had been ill-judged.

"The drinks promotions listed on the flyer were those being hosted at the Eg and were not arranged by SDLP Youth," he said.

“Nevertheless SDLP Youth recognises the issue of this flyer was an error of judgment and has cancelled the event."

(IT)

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