Sunday 25 September 2016

Cafes targeted by councillors in war on sugar addiction

Fiona Dillon and Niall O'Connor

Published 25/06/2015 | 02:30

Paul Gogarty
Paul Gogarty

A crackdown on cafes is being proposed by a group of Dublin councillors as part of the war on sugar.

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The councillors, who are members of South Dublin County Council, are meeting today to debate the draft development plan to run from 2016 to 2022.

One section of the development plan highlights how it is the policy of the council to manage the provision of fast food outlets and takeaways.

The objective is to "prevent an excessive concentration of fast food outlets and takeaways, and ensure that the intensity of any proposed use is in keeping with both the scale of the relevant building and the pattern of development in the area."

A similar section in the current plan has been the basis for refusal of planning permission for a number of proposed takeaways throughout the county during the lifetime of the plan.

However, Independent Councillor Deirdre O'Donovan has put down a controversial motion for debate today calling for this policy to be amended to include cafes, given the rise in sugar addiction.

Ms O'Donovan is closely associated with Independent TD Shane Ross and has already declared she will be a candidate in the General Election.

Her motion is co-sponsored by councillor Francis Duffy of the Green Party, and Independent councillors Paul Gogarty, Francis Timmons, Guss O'Connell and Liona O'Toole.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms O'Donovan said she wanted it on the agenda so there could be a discussion about it.

"There is an obesity epidemic," she pointed out. We were told all along that fat is what is going to make you fat. The evidence we have now is, well, actually not all fat is bad.

"They are taking about chippers and fast food outlets. I am saying well, sugar is what's killing us. Sugar is what's making our children fat. So we need to have that conversation," she said.

"I think the occasional bun is fantastic, the same way as the occasional fish and chips is okay," she said.

"I would like to see a common sense approach to a problem that is going to affect all of us," said Ms O'Donovan.

From a social point of view it is fantastic to have cafes where you can go and meet your friends, she added.

"The whole point of this county development plan is to look at how the people within South Dublin County Council live for the next five years, and it is our duty to look at the options and to look at everything," she said.

Meanwhile, Councillor Paul Gogarty said the draft plan will go on public consultation between July and September.

One informed source said that, if passed, the motion could effectively prohibit the development of clusters of cafes - by prohibiting new cafes from opening where existing ones already operate. The meeting takes place this afternoon.

However, councillors of other parties are expected to vote against the proposal, which some feel is unnecessary. Other councillors say they are opposed to measures that could damage the prospect of cafe owners setting up in the constituency.

Irish Independent

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