The Daily Shift’s Claire Corrigan reports that foreign companies are good for Ireland, but how many of our “Irish” products are actually imported…
As the economy continues to struggle, retailers and Irish organisations are appealing to the public to buy Irish products in the run up to Christmas. Guaranteed Irish have set up a ‘Shop for Ireland’ campaign which is “to encourage consumers to buy quality produced Irish products”. Meanwhile, Chief executive of the Crafts Council of Ireland, Karen Hennessey, has stressed that the craft sector is worth almost half a billion euro to the economy and employs 5,700. Speaking about the industry, Hennessey said; “Each purchase of Irish craft supports jobs throughout the country and keeps money in the Irish economy”.
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, have also appealed to people to not only buy Irish, but to buy local. Chief Executive Mark Fielding said that for every €10 spent locally there is a further €24 benefit to the local economy. “If that €10 is spent outside the locality it undermines the viability of businesses in the area and in turn threatens the livelihoods of those who rely on local businesses and suppliers”. However, following Eamon Gilmore’s meeting with British multinational retailer Tesco’s chief executive Tony Keohane last week, it’s clear that multinational companies are also money-makers for the country.
Tesco employs more than 15,000 people in Ireland and is worth around €2 billion to the Irish economy, while Aldi do business with 125 Irish suppliers with more than 50 per cent of all grocery sales from Aldi now generated on products bought from Irish suppliers.
Aldi’s Nature’s Isle fresh poultry, beef, pork and lamb is sourced exclusively in the Republic on farms certified by the Bord Bia scheme; i’s flour comes from Odlums; its soft drinks and water come from Gleesons, while its yoghurt is supplied by companies in Cork, Monaghan and Donegal.
However, Love Irish Food, the umbrella group set up three years ago to promote Irish-manufactured foods and to protect Irish jobs within the industry, reported that there is a lot of confusion among Irish consumers about what is and what is not a truly Irish product.
A survey conducted by the group found that 80% of Irish consumers thought Siúcra was produced in Ireland. It also found that 77% thought that Lyons Tea was Irish, and 71%t assumed the same about HB ice-cream. All three products are in fact imported from outside of the Republic.