GPs in protest over fast-food drive-through

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TWO public health doctors have written to An Bord Pleanala calling on it to refuse planning permission for a drive-through fast food restaurant in Skerries.

Intervening in the already contentious planning battle, Dr Fionnuala Cooney and Dr Ruth McDermott in a joint submission to the appeals board state that “we strongly recommend that planning permission is not granted to this proposed development”.

The specialists with the HSE said that “the rationale for our objection is that the proposed facility is likely to have an adverse effect on the diet and physical activity levels in the local population, which in turn could have an adverse impact on childhood obesity levels”.

proposed facility is likely to have an adverse effect on the diet and physical activity levels in the local population

The doctors said that this is because the development is designed to provide a drive-through facility to individuals, groups and families; provide fast food which is likely to be high in fat, sugar and salt and be located in a convenient, accessible and prominent location close to childcare and educational facilities.

Earlier this year, Fingal County Council gave the go-ahead to Marbleside Ltd for the fast food outlet on lands at the Skerries Point shopping centre.

The Irish Heart Foundation (HF) is one of a number of parties to lodge appeals against the plan. In its appeal, the IHF point out that there are four national schools and one secondary school within walking distance of the planned outlet.

In the HSE objection, Dr Cooney and Dr McDermott argue that refusing planning permission for the fast food restaurant “would be in keeping with our ‘Healthy Ireland’ policy”.

They state: “Our objection is underpinned by the principle that Government and society have a moral and legal responsibility to act on in the best interests of children in reducing the risk of obesity through protecting children’s right to health.”

The two argue that “there should be consistency in planning in relation to food outlets close to education facilities’”

Fingal County Council gave the plan the go-ahead in spite of 154 objections and others to appeal the decision include the Board of Management of the Skerries Educate Together NS, the Skerries Community Residents Association, Kelly’s Bay Residents Association and Louise O’Reilly TD.

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