Dismay at Skerries fast food restaurant approval

By . Policy News   |   6th Sep 2019

Skerries decision a setback in the fight against Ireland’s obesity crisis

The Irish Heart Foundation today expressed dismay at a decision by An Bord Pleanála to reject its appeal against plans for a drive-through fast food restaurant just 300 metres from a primary school in Skerries, County Dublin.

Speaking today, Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation, said the decision was a setback in the fight against Ireland’s child obesity crisis, which State-funded research has estimated will result in the premature deaths of more than 85,000 of today’s children on the island of Ireland.

“75% of Irish schools have at least one and 30% have at least five fast food outlets within a kilometre of their gates. It’s clear that many junk food restaurant chains deliberately cluster around schools to boost business.

" The proliferation of these restaurants close to locations where children live, learn and play is helping to drive our child obesity crisis and has to be urgently stopped.”

Mr Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy, Irish Heart Foundation

“An Bord Pleanála says in its ruling that careful consideration was given to the ‘appropriateness and location’ of this outlet to local schools. We don’t accept that – the proliferation of these restaurants close to locations where children live, learn and play is helping to drive our child obesity crisis and has to be urgently stopped.”

Mr Macey said the Irish Heart Foundation was calling on the Government to introduce no fry zone legislation that would prevent planning permission for all new hot food takeaways within one kilometre of primary and secondary schools.

He continued, “This is a measure that is evidence-based, supported by the public, cost free and, in association with other important measures, will help reduce overweight and obesity among our children. So, if policymakers won’t even do this, you’d have to ask what do they have the stomach for in protecting children’s health in the midst of Ireland’s obesity crisis.”

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