The Dáil was gripped yesterday by “cheese madness”.
Charlie Flanagan of FIne Gael held an emergency debate on plans by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to ban television cheese adverts before the 9pm watershed.
The move is being taken in a bid to stop young people being targeted by fatty products.
Mr Flanagan branded it “ludicrous” and “mad”.
“I call on the BAI to stop this madness. This is the nanny state gone mad. The increase in childhood obesity levels is alarming and something must be done to stop this.
“However, the BAI’s proposal to include banning cheese adverts before 9pm is a step too far.
“It is well documented that dairy products and the calcium they contain play a crucial part in the diet of children and teenagers.
“Research shows that while obesity in children has broadly doubled over a 15-year period, cheese consumption has remained static.
He said the move will “be very damaging to the booming dairy sector and will send out the wrong message to the industry and the 34,000 people it employs.
“Exports in this industry are worth €2.6bn to the Irish economy every year. The target is to double this in the next eight years.”
In response, TD Fergus O’Dowd said the BAI was an independent body.
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