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McDonald's savaged in calorie menus row

THE doctor leading Ireland's charge against obesity has slammed McDonald's decision not to include calories on Irish menu boards.

Donal O' Shea, head of weight management at St Colmcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, said he is appalled by the decision.

"McDonald's are more concerned about their annual profit. They will have to get serious about obesity, because an overwhelming number of young children and adults are obese in Ireland," he said.

The frustration comes amid a new scheme that was introduced in the UK that will see the introduction of calorie labelling boards in McDonald's restaurants throughout Britain.

The scheme was introduced following serious concerns over rising obesity rates.

However, Dr O'Shea said Ireland's obesity rates "are extremely high" and "must be taken seriously".

Dr O'Shea explained that 25pc of young children are considered obese in Ireland, while 23pc are moderately overweight. He added that 25pc of adults are obese.

Health Director for Safefood, Cliodhna Foley Nolan, said the initiative would be a positive step towards creating awareness of rising Irish obesity rates.

"We know from experience that people who eat out are likely to choose less healthy foods, and initiatives like calorie counting boards would provide people with more information and awareness," she said.

Communications Director for McDonald's Ireland Ray Farrelly, said: "McDonald's Ireland notes the introduction of menu board labelling in the UK where it is part of the wider Responsibility initiative. We will monitor the situation closely.

"We have had no contact with the Department of Health, but we will observe how the initiative works out in the UK because it is the first European country to take part."

Meanwhile, McDonald's have announced the creation of 60 new jobs in North Dublin at a new outlet at Gulliver's retail park near Ballymun.