Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers has said that it is against all logic that the fast-food chain, McDonalds, is allowed to sponsor RTÉ’s flagship children’s programme, the Big Big Movie.

“It is remarkable that RTÉ are allowing McDonalds to sponsor this slot, despite the ban on high fat salt and sugar foods during children’s programming.

“RTÉ are potentially infringing the Codes of Standards for Advertising, Promotional and Direct Marketing in Ireland, by allowing the advertising of junk food during the Big Big Movie.

“As their own website details, this programme slot has a quarter of a million viewers which include a 31% average share of viewing for Kids. Sponsorship can reach 85% of households with children.” said Deputy Chambers.

“Evidence is clear, that the advertising of junk food adversely influences children’s preferences and heavily contributes to childhood obesity. Our national broadcaster should therefore be doing more to protect Irish children from any exposure to the advertising of unhealthy food.

“RTÉ’s clear breach of public responsibility underscores the need for a blanket ban on advertising of junk food during the watershed hours (6am to 9pm).

“The previous Government had little grasp of the potential public health problems associated with a child’s unhealthy diet. A complete absence of public health policy on the advertising of junk food targeted towards children could potentially lead to generations with sizable dental bills, increased incidences of Type 2 Diabetes and Early Onset Heart Disease,” added Chambers.