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RTÉ and Vodafone should pull ad encouraging Christmas swimmers at Forty Foot

22nd December 2020 - Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

RTÉ and Vodafone should pull an ad on the traditional Christmas swim at the Forty Foot in the interest of public safety during the Covid pandemic, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Dún Laoghaire TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said the ad which shows a man communicating with his granddaughter on the phone as he takes part in a Christmas swim with other bathers at the Forty Foot is sadly inconsistent this year with the necessary public health messaging that Government is delivering.

Deputy Carroll MacNeill said, “Every year it is wonderful to see Christmas swimmers come to the Forty Foot, but this is one tradition, among many, we need to change just this year.

“It may be accidental, but the otherwise lovely advertisement is still being shown on RTÉ at primetime viewing slots, and we are doing our best to discourage people from crowding the Forty Foot this year. Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the Gardaí and the HSE have appealed to the public not to visit the site.

“I have contacted the CEO of Vodafone Ireland asking if she would consider pulling the broadcasting of this Vodafone ad over the Christmas period, to ensure we are all on the same page with regard to the public health message.

“This advertisement, while a heart-warming reminder to us of our loved ones abroad and our Christmases past, is a problem in that it could encourage people to meet unnecessarily at a time when there is significant concern about the trajectory of the virus and when people are asked to keep their contacts as low as possible.

“I have urged people to consider doing their dip on a different day; we can’t risk creating serious super spreader events just for a festive jump in the cold water.

“If you do decide to swim on Christmas day, maybe find a quieter spot, make sure that you remember to keep your distance and avoid large gatherings and lingering around afterwards.

“Hopefully this time next year will be different, when we can return to some semblance of normality and come together to enjoy our much-loved traditions once again,” Deputy Carroll MacNeill concluded.

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