New rules could mean that fast-food restaurants will be banned from building in certain exclusion zones around schools and playgrounds in a bid to battle the country’s obesity problem.
The 1.5km exclusion area around schools, playgrounds and youth sports facilities would be a fast-food outlets and takeaway-free zone.
Medical experts and public health officials are behind the proposal which is being considered by the Government.
The Draft Local Area Plans which dictate national planning for the next ten years are currently passing through the consultation stage.
A quarter of 11-year-olds are now clinically obese and experts have warned that Ireland faces a multi-billion euro healthcare problem by 2035 unless steps are taken now to reduce youth consumption of fatty foods.
Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the country has to act quickly.
“The truth is that we are facing a very disturbing surge in obesity and this will have terrible long-term consequences for our children,” the minister told the Irish Independent.
“The time for action is now if we are to protect children and promote healthier lifestyles.”
Existing fast-food outlets will not be affected unless they have to reapply for planning.
For the full report, see today's print edition of the Irish Independent.