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Ó Caoláin: Harney must protect children from dangerous sunbeds

29 July, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin’s Dáil Leader and Health and Children Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has renewed his calls for legislation to prohibit sunbed use by under-18s in the wake of a new study showing it to be much more dangerous than previously suggested.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said:

“The links between ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer are well known and Sinn Féin has long called for legislation to protect children from the dangers of sunbeds. The report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, published in The Lancet, indicates that the dangers are even greater than previously realised. According to the study the risk of melanoma is increased by 75 per cent where sunbed use begins at an early age. The report further states that sunbeds should be moved to the ‘highest cancer risk’ category.

“In replies to the repeated questions I have raised on this matter, the Minister for Health has stated that she intends to prohibit sunbed use by under-18s as part of a forthcoming Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. However, this bill will contain a number of different measures and its publication has been repeatedly postponed since it first appeared on the government’s Legislative Programme in January 2007. No satisfactory reason has been given for this delay.

“The Minister must now act with urgency to stop children being subjected to these highly-dangerous sunbeds. Legislation must be prepared in time for the Dáil resumption in September, even if this requires a standalone bill. Any further delay will only add to the government’s litany of appalling failures to protect the lives and well-being of Irish children.” ENDS

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