Parents can buy clothes for kids, says Martin

Micheál Martin's comments come after junior minister Damien English said that "clothes are not essential"
Parents can buy clothes for kids, says Martin

Childrens clothes in a supermarket near Cardiff are deemed non-essential items and are cordoned off. A similar scenario has caused controversy here this week. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA

Parents will be able to buy children's clothes during this lockdown, the Taoiseach has insisted, as two Government TDs question the ban on the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets.

Micheál Martin's comments come after junior minister Damien English said that "clothes are not essential".

Mr Martin said that while level 5 lockdown was "a blunt instrument", access to items such as baby clothes would not be cut off completely. Supermarkets this week moved to limit sales of non-grocery items.

"Children will be able to get clothes, you’ve got a click and collect, online, shop deliveries, the community call.

“Nobody has stopped trading. Many shops are providing a service where you ring, make a call, and say you need X and Y and then you go and collect it then at the shop at a particular time," he said.

"Shops do deliveries to people as well. There are ways and means of people being able to get access to a variety of goods and services. The first lockdown worked, and it was a more severe lockdown in many respects, and I think that’s the approach we’re going to adopt."

Green Party TD Patrick Costello called the debate "tone-deaf to the needs of lower-income families".

“We have to remember that what may not be an essential item to one individual may well be essential to another.  Nobody should be forced to prove to a retailer that they are marginalised in order to buy their child a pair of socks, as is now being suggested.”

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O'Sullivan said "common sense needs to prevail here", adding that he has made the case to the Government to reconsider the move.

More in this section