Sugar Drinks Tax not meant to raise revenue, but to encourage healthier Ireland – O’Reilly
Responding to criticisms from the Irish Beverage Council over a proposed sugary drinks tax, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that while the tax is not intended to be a silver bullet in terms of dealing with the obesity crisis, it is a necessary preventative measure needed.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“Obesity was estimated to have cost the State €1.13 billion in 2009. The most recent WHO reports predict that Ireland is heading for a massive increase in rates of obesity and excess weight. The government must act now to ensure that these predictions do not become reality. The sugar tax is a first step in this.
“Sinn Féin fully supports the Irish Heart Foundation in its call for the introduction of a Sugar Tax. 7% of children rising to 36% of older people are obese. Unless obesity and food poverty rates are reduced it is predicted that there will be a significant impact on quality of life, life expectancy and healthcare costs in Ireland. We cannot look at a long-term vision for healthcare without looking at important and necessary preventative measures such as this.
“The purpose in introducing a Sugary Soft drinks (SSD) tax is both to reduce consumption of these high sugar products and to provide funding for health and nutrition programmes. It is not a silver bullet in terms of dealing with the obesity crisis, but in the long term, it will alleviate the burden being placed on our health system.”