The Irish Society of Gastroenterology has called for action to be taken against cut-price alcohol.

The society has called for a 1% levy on alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

Gastroenterologists from Ireland and Britain want to see an improved investment in hospital and community-based alcohol treatment services.

The group is seeking to stem what it says is a growing alcohol-related crisis in healthcare.

The society says the availability of cheap drink in supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations has played a big role in the increase in alcohol-related diseases on the island of Ireland and in Britain.

It is recommending that the money raised from this initiative could be used to fund an Institute of Alcohol Studies.

This institute could spearhead research into alcohol harm reduction according to the society.

Responding to the call the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland said: "There is no proven link between alcohol consumption and marketing and sponsorship."

The association, which represents alcohol manufactures and suppliers in Ireland, said: "Alcohol consumption has fallen by over 19% since 2001 and we are now fast approaching EU norms."

ABFI Director Kathryn D'Arcy said that while the vast majority of Irish people drink responsibly, it is important that all sectors in society, including Government and industry, work together to reduce the level of alcohol misuse.

But she added simply introducing another tax in order to fund another quango will not achieve this.