Former GAA president Sean Kelly has said there is no scientific evidence to show that a total ban on drinks sponsorship in sport will be beneficial.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the Fine Gael MEP said the proposal is based on opinion rather than scientific evidence.

He said the probability is that sports companies would not lose out, as they would go elsewhere with their sponsorship, but said it could have negative effects on sport in the long term.

The move could curtail the ability of sports to promote their sport at grassroots level, which would ultimately have a negative effect on the health of young people.

Mr Kelly claimed that in France, where a similar ban is in place, there has been an increase in the abuse of drink by young people, whereas there has been a decrease in Ireland.

Mr Kelly said he finds it strange that the proposal allows sponsorship to continue for arts and cultural events, but not for sport.

The MEP said it was difficult to replace sponsorship and that any such move should be done in a proportionate manner.

He said the GAA has phased out sponsorship by drink companies, and has a programme in place to reduce dependence on substance abuse in every single club.