Wicklow County Council have voted in favour of banning fast-food restaurants from being built within 400 metres of schools, joining the likes of the Wexford, Fingal and Dún Laoghaire councils who have also implemented 'no-fry zones'.
Thejournal.ie reports that there was strong opposition from the chief executive of Wicklow County Council Bryan Doyle as well as other council officials. In the end, the final count saw 25 votes to 3 in favour of the amendment, with 2 votes abstained and 2 councillors not being present.
Philip Moyles, chairman of No Fry Zone 4 Kids, a community group that has been lobbying to get no-fry zones added to all of Ireland's county development plans, said: "This is a most impressive result. When the amendment first came before the council in May, it passed by 18 votes to 12, in the face of sustained opposition from the chief executive and officials of WCC, but now we have added seven votes to the tally in favour."
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Moyles added that "the distance of 400 metres will actually make a difference to obesity levels, based on the studies carried out in this area".
The group started its 'No-Fry Zone' campaign over three years ago after a fast-food restaurant planned to open an outlet close to three schools in Greystones. The opening, which received planning approval twice from Wicklow County Council's planners, would have seen it be located only 30 metres away from a national school that has around 1,800 students.
Irish business group Ibec had previously described the creation of a 'no-fry zone' as being "highly discriminatory" and had told Dublin City Council that there was an absence of evidence to support the claim that a ban would safeguard the health of children.