Dublin Senator and Fine Gael candidate for Dublin West, Catherine Noone, has said that revenue from a sugar tax, if it is introduced, should be strictly ring-fenced to improve access to free dental care for children.
“There is no question that consumption of sugar has gone into the stratosphere and that taxing sugar is now accepted as an inevitable reality that we have to face. I believe that a sugar tax would make a real difference in the battle against obesity and it is something that I am going to continue fighting for. Such a tax was introduced in Mexico in October 2013 to combat the country’s alarming obesity problem. It proved successful with a reported 10% decline in sugary beverage consumption in the first three months of its implementation alone.
“However, I don’t believe that any funds raised from such a tax should simply go into general taxation. I believe that, instead, any money raised from a sugar tax should be ring-fenced to undo some of the damage that sugar does to children’s teeth, and a special fund for free children’s dental treatments should be created.
“Reports today that every year thousands of children under the age of 15 are being admitted to hospital to have teeth removed under general anaesthetic, are very worrying. We need to work to reduce this and this should be a priority in healthcare for the next term of Government.
“I believe this is a rare opportunity to ensure that taxation is used to directly undo the harm caused by the product that is being taxed, and I hope that we can ensure that this happens when a sugar tax is introduced. All children should have access to free dental care in the same way that Fine Gael has ensured that all children under 12 will now have access to free GP care. I hope this will be a priority for the next Government.”