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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 13 May 2021
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Children making their communion being 'paraded into tanning shops to perk up their tans'

The Dáil debated legislation to ban sunbed use among under 18s this morning.

James Reilly listening to debate on his sunbed legislation in the Dáil this morning
James Reilly listening to debate on his sunbed legislation in the Dáil this morning
Image: Screengrab via Oireachtas TV

CHILDREN AS YOUNG as eight are being “paraded into tanning shops throughout this country to perk up their tan”, a TD has claimed.

The Dáil has been debating the Public Health Sunbed Bill this morning with Health Minister James Reilly outlining the details of legislation that will require sunbed operators to ban anyone under 18 from using them.

Premises will have to be licensed and staff trained and the sale or hire of sunbeds online will be controlled. The HSE will be mandated to carry out inspections and penalties and fines can be levied on operators for non-compliance of up to €5,000 or 12 months in prison.

Reilly told TDs that non-compliance would see operators placed on a “name and shame” offenders list and said that the government is committed to health service reform that is proactive rather than reactive.

He said the proposed legislation is “a real sign of our commitment, I think collectively, to prevention rather than paying just lip service to it”.

The bill has cross-party support with Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Bill Kelleher lamenting the fact the legislation is unlikely to be in place before the communion season.

‘Communion brigade’

He said “the communion brigade ” will see “young children paraded into tanning shops throughout this country to perk up their tan at eight years of age, for what is effectively still a religious ceremony in our schools”.

Kelleher said that politicians need to be conscious that a lot of work needs to be done to convince people that some government policies “are actually good for you”. He also said there should be an “inspection regime” for goggles that sunbed users wear to ensure that they are the “proper type”.

Sinn Féin’s Caomhghín Ó Caoláin said there is a “compulsion” among certain sections of the population to have a permanent tan because of a “widespread perception” that it is necessary to be attractive or indeed healthy.

He claimed that a recent survey of school children in Sligo had shown that the vast majority falsely believed that tanned skin was healthier and that sunbed use provided a safe base for a holiday tan.

He said that many also believed it was a cure for acne.

Irish Cancer Society: Law to regulate use of sunbeds doesn’t go far enough

Previously: NI to introduce ban on under-18s using sunbeds

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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