Middle aisles should remain open to shoppers, says Soc Dems TD

Middle aisles should remain open to shoppers, says Soc Dems TD

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon urged the government to rectify the situation around 'essential' and 'non-essential' items. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Education spokesperson for the Social Democrats, Gary Gannon has said that the “centre aisles” in supermarkets containing non-essential items should remain open during Level 5.

The Government needed to rectify the situation by using the appropriate communication to “get buy-in” from the community, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Mr Gannon was responding to comments by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English on RTÉ television’s Prime Time on Thursday night when he said that children’s socks were not essential items.

The minister had been defending the Government's policy of ensuring that mixed retailers sold only goods that were classed as essential. 

Mr Gannon said that children’s clothes were essential and that there was no point in closing the ‘non-essential’ aisles in supermarkets at present, as most were in buildings that were large and well ventilated.

Under level 5 restrictions, clothing is not considered an 'essential item' for supermarkets. File Picture: PA
Under level 5 restrictions, clothing is not considered an 'essential item' for supermarkets. File Picture: PA

Under the Level 5 restrictions “retailers with mixed retail offering which have discrete spaces for essential and non-essential retail should make arrangements for the separation of relevant areas.” 

Clothing is not included in the list of essential items.

Last weekend Tánaiste and Business and Enterprise Minister, Leo Varadkar told RTÉ This Week that the logic behind the ban was that to allow sales of this kind to continue would be unfair on the shops that had been forced to close. Retailers needed to abide by the regulations which would be enforced by the Gardaí, he said.

Mr Gannon also called on the Minister for Education to answer questions in the Dáil next week about safety in schools following the withdrawal of more sanitising products which were deemed not suitable.

"The morale of teachers, principals and special needs assistants had been impacted by this which left schools in a precarious position," he said.

“We need leadership from the front to allay fears and to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” 

Mr Gannon also pointed out that many classrooms had not been built for purpose and were in old buildings some without windows or adequate ventilation.

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