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The figures show that the RCSI in Dublin spent €22,315 in 2014 and €16,644 in 2015 on “beer and wine beverages”.
The expenditure to mid-November 2016 is €14,834, stated the RCSI’s response. While MI asked for the quantities of alcohol concerned, this information was not returned in the response under FoI.
According to the RCSI, the alcohol is served at various College events and conferences, including undergraduate and postgraduate conferrings, honorary conferrings, memorial lectures, Fellow and alumni meetings, as well as social events surrounding surgical conferences, including the annual Charter Day Meeting and Millin Meeting.
A spokesperson for the RCSI told MI it holds “numerous” alcohol-free events on an annual basis. However, alcohol is on offer to guests at “a select number of celebratory events” alongside non-alcoholic alternatives.
“RCSI does not sell alcohol at events but there is a charge to attend some events to cover the costs associated with the event. The attendance for the social programmes (ie, dinners and receptions) associated with large meetings and ceremonies on an annual basis include: Charter Day and Millin Meeting (410 across both events) and conferrings (5,000 across eight ceremonies annually).”
A spokesperson for the RCPI, meanwhile, said it has health-related policies in place regarding events held at No 6 Kildare Street.
These policies state that smoking will not be allowed in the vicinity of any of the RCPI’s buildings, particularly No 6; that when alcohol is consumed, RCPI advocates that this is within safe limits and any alcohol served at College events must reflect this; and that food choices for RCPI events must reflect a “healthy eating ethos” and offer healthy options on all menus.
FoI legislation does not apply to the RCPI and it did not provide requested figures on alcohol expenditure. The College has been particularly vocal on the public harm associated with alcohol abuse.