Sunday 25 February 2018

Tackle 'fat tax' head on

Madam – I refer to articles written by Niamh Horan: 'No running away from it – you are what you eat' (Sunday Independent, October 27) and 'Reilly chews the fat as nation gets more obese' (Sunday Independent, October 20). First of all, I would like to congratulate Ms Horan for having the courage to broach the subject of the 'Minister for Health James Reilly's waistline', which has indeed been 'the elephant in the room' for far too long.

There is no doubt that her article was not a personal attack on Dr Reilly, but rather an opportunity to put important information out into the public arena – information that was badly required in an effort to highlight the increase in obesity and the danger to health that it causes.

I was, however, disappointed to learn that the government spin-doctors' response was to ignore what I believe were some of the most poignant points that Ms Horan was alluding to in her first article. For example, the fact that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan ignored the representation made by Dr Reilly prior to the 2014 Budget? Ms Horan also mentioned that the Department of Health had previously admitted that obesity was 'a ticking timebomb'. She also said, and I quote: 'Junk food is far more addictive than cocaine.' It was clear that Ms Horan had every right to question why a so-called 'fat tax' – a levy on fattening food and beverages – was ignored in the Budget?

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