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The data obtained by MI following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request shows that the College spent €15,451 on beer and wine beverages in 2016, and a further €13,433 from 1 January to 20 June this year, bringing the total during this period to €28,884.
According to the RCSI, the alcohol was served on occasions such as undergraduate, postgraduate and honorary conferring ceremonies, surgical meetings, conferences and events, and Fellow and alumni meetings.
A spokesperson for the College told MI: “RCSI hosts hundreds of events on an annual basis and the vast majority of events are alcohol-free. At a select number of celebratory events, alcohol is on offer to guests, as well as non-alcoholic alternatives.
“RCSI encourages health and wellbeing through its RCSI Inspire programme for staff and a number of health-related policies and this ethos extends to events hosted by RCSI. These include offering healthy options on menus, the prohibition of smoking in the vicinity of any RCSI buildings and on occasion when alcohol is served, that it is consumed within safe limits within strictly-controlled hours. These initiatives and policies are part of RCSI’s wider commitment to promote health and wellbeing, which encompasses the RCSI MyHealth Lecture Series, offering free lectures on a range of health topics to members of the public.”
The RCPI, which is not covered under FoI legislation, did not provide requested details on its alcohol expenditure. MI made the same request last year, which was also refused. The RCPI has been prominent in its support of the Public Health (Alcohol Bill) through its Policy Group on Alcohol, chaired by RCPI President Prof Frank Murray.
An RCPI spokesperson told MI: “The College supports the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which is a proportionate and evidence-based piece of legislation that can improve our relationship as a society with alcohol. Our policies around the serving of alcohol at events are informed by the contents of the proposed Bill.”