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TD highly critical of Government decision to change retail and planning guidelines for IKEA

5 January, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Arthur Morgan TD, has strongly criticised the decision of the Cabinet today to agree to change retail and planning guidelines so as to allow Swedish furniture giant IKEA open an outlet several times larger than current maximum permitted.

Deputy Morgan said, "It is not only incredible but absolutely unacceptable that Government retail and planning policy should be dictated by a single furniture retailer. This is one of the most craven decisions made by this Government and represents a worrying trend whereby large corporations are now calling the shots in terms of policy direction.

"Minister Roche may try and dress it up in the language of 'consumer rights' and claim there are restrictions to accompany the new guidelines but the reality is this decision was taken by a weak Government and even weaker Minister because they crumbled in the face of intense pressure from IKEA.

"This decision will represent the thin end of the wedge and will ultimately allow the likes of WalMart, with its notorious and appalling employer record, enter the Irish market. Slavishly following the US model of building massive out of town retail/warehouse outlets will have a detrimental effect not only on smaller and indigenous retailers, who have abided by the current guidelines, but will also have a massive effect on local communities and the environment.

"Ballymun does not need 500 minimum-wage retail jobs in a single outlet, which in any case, will be taken from other parts of the city, it needs sustainable and diverse employment opportunities. Rather than claiming this as a success it is a failure of Government policy. Putting all your eggs in one basket is no solution to the decades of neglect suffered by the people of Ballymun." ENDS

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