Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar has expressed concern that sports funding could be lost if a ban on sponsorship by alcohol companies is implemented.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said there is a problem in Ireland in terms of chronic alcohol consumption and binge drinking.

However, the minister said that alcohol consumption and public order offences are falling.

Mr Varadkar said this is in contrast to France where a ban on alcohol companies sponsoring sporting events already exists.

The minister said he would be interested to hear the rationale behind Department of Health proposals to ban alcohol sponsorship of large sporting events but not cultural events.

He said in terms of combating the alcohol problem in Ireland, he supports minimum pricing but said when it comes to sports sponsorship there is a fear that funding would be lost.

Mr Varadkar is also worried that Ireland may be excluded from international competitions and "if other countries aren't going down this route, I don't want to see us losing out".