Don’t tax the health of Ireland

Posted on: 9th April, 2019

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

While the best means to achieve peak nutrition is through a fully balanced diet – one containing plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – in reality this isn’t always possible or practical.

Years of intensive farming have decreased the microbiome of the soil, which in turn, means we are getting fewer nutrients from our food.

Women of childbearing age are recommended to take folic acid before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects.

Vitamin D, important for the development of healthy bone, muscles and teeth, is mainly produced in the body by exposure of the skin to sunlight. The little sunshine we get here in Ireland means that we need to supplement with vitamin D.

Very low B12 intakes can cause anaemia and nervous system damage. B12 is generally found in animal foods, which means strict vegetarians and vegans need to supplement. 

Many people with autoimmune diseases suffer from nutrient deficiencies and need to supplement.

We now know how important our gut health is to our physical and mental wellbeing. Probiotics help us restore our gut flora after a round of antibiotics.

It’s a fact – there are lifestyle issues and some long-term health conditions that necessitate the need for supplementation.

There are a large number of approved, science-backed claims that can be legally attributed to certain specified nutrients. Apart from these, food supplements are marketed without claims.

Defined as food by the European Food Safety Authority, food supplements have until now been treated as foods for VAT purposes, availing of the concessionary zero per cent rate applicable to foods in Ireland for more than 40 years.

Following intervention by the Minister of Finance, after over 60,000 people signed the petition against the 23 per cent VAT increase, the Revenue Commissioners has delayed the introduction of the VAT increase until November 1.

Health Stores Ireland, the body representing 200 independent health food stores, are continuing the campaign to have all food supplements supplied at zero VAT.

Campaign spokesperson, Matt Ronan, said “the deferral was extremely welcome and we appreciate the move towards this by Minister Paschal Donohoe, but we must remember that it is only a deferral. We have broad political and public support for legislation to be brought before the Dail to enshrine the tax-free status of food supplements. Health Stores Ireland will be keeping the campaign active right up to November 1, but we fully expect the Minister to keep his promise to engage with stakeholders and bring forward legislation via Budget 2020.”

The campaign will focus immediately on the local and European elections and subsequently on the Department of Finance. Health Stores Ireland are continuing with their petition gathering, which has exceeded 75,000, and are urging the public to continue to raise the matter with their public representatives.  

To highlight the importance of this campaign, West Cork People chats to nutritionists and health store customers all over West Cork, who depend on supplements for their health.

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County Council host 'Dursey Cable Car Community Information Evening' Tuesday 23rd April 2019 6-8pm in the Lehanmore Community Centre, Garnish, Beara peninsula.

Cork County Council, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, is currently planning the development of the Dursey Island Cable Car and Visitor Centre valued at approximately €7 million.

Following on from the very successful community information evening held in Glengarriff in late March, Cork County Council propose to hold a further information evening to engage with the community and all stakeholders in regards to development of the Cable Car and Visitor Centre.

This information event, happening in the Lehanmore Community Centre, Garnish, aims to update the local community and industry stakeholders on the status of the project and to seek comments and observations. It will afford the local community and industry stakeholders an additional opportunity to comment on the current preliminary design which will be on display on the evening.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy is encouraging everybody with an interest to attend this meeting, “It is vital to the success of this project to get input from the community and the feedback from these events will go into the overall design to help shape the Dursey Island cable car and visitor centre’s development into an iconic tourist experience that brings with it great benefits to the Beara region”

The third of three community information meetings on the development, this upcoming meeting, in Lehanmore Community Centre, will close the current series of formal information events. It is intended that a new series will commence post planning consent in late 2019 or early 2020.
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