Press Release

Minister Martin announces sponsorship for the Irish Masters Snooker Tournament

The Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, T.D., today (30 January 2001) announced a major new health sponsorship deal for this year’s Irish Masters Snooker Tournament. The Irish Masters will be co-sponsored by a joint venture of his Department’s Health Promotion Unit and the recently established Office of Tobacco Control. The sponsorship amounts to £200,000 per year for three years.

The other sponsor will be City West which will also host the event in March 2001.

In previous years the Masters Tournament has been sponsored by the Tobacco industry.

The Minister said, “I am delighted my Department is one of the sponsors of this prestigious international sporting event. Last year I introduced a complete ban on all forms of advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products. I was always anxious, however, to ensure that our decision to ban would not adversely affect the running of this popular tournament. I believe our co-sponsorship of the Irish Masters Snooker Tournament will enable us to promote, in a very significant way, our Tobacco Free Policy. The tobacco industry’s advertising will now be replaced by our healthy, anti-smoking message”.

At present, the Department’s Health Promotion Unit supports an extensive range of anti-smoking initiatives. The most recent anti-smoking campaign “Break the Habit for Good” emphasizes the positive effects which quitting smoking can have on the individual. An offshoot of this campaign, the “Nico” campaign, which is currently running, highlights the unappealing aspects of smoking, particularly among the young.

The co-sponsorship of the Irish Masters Snooker Tournament by the Health Promotion Unit and the Office of Tobacco Control will raise the public profiles of these agencies and will also assist in promoting the Department’s anti-tobacco message to a large audience. Similar initiatives have been taken in the USA and Australia where Health Promotion agencies are replacing tobacco firms as sponsors of major sporting events and even teams.

“Ireland has, for many years, been a leading advocate for the world-wide control and ultimate elimination of tobacco use from our society. Given the international coverage of the snooker tournament, this new health sponsorship deal will publicize our anti-tobacco policy to our European neighbours and to the international community” said the Minister.