Buying British


Sir, - I am bewildered by the views of Donal Cullen (December 14th). I resent being told by anybody what I should buy when I go shopping.

Tesco has a fairly wide choice of produce from other EU countries, some which I prefer to similar Irish produce for reasons of taste, or quality. For instance, I prefer the taste of French or Danish butter to most of the local brands.

I do buy Irish, when it has the quality I am looking for, but I refuse to be told I cannot apply these criteria as a general rule.

As it is, I have no other choice but to buy Irish potatoes which wouldn't reach the shelves of any shop abroad. The diseased and blemished tubers we are offered this early in the season would qualify only as cattle feed.

People who would like to ban foreign produce from the Irish market should be consistent. They should campaign for Ireland leaving the EU, and stop accepting other EU taxpayers' money to shore up an inefficient agricultural sector or finance public works.

Get real! Golden Vale announces that it is closing its Dutch factory, and the resulting "rationalisation" will allow it to shed 150 jobs, all for the sake of increasing profits. But Boots is lambasted for reducing the number of its Irish suppliers because some of them are unable to reach the required standards.

Irish producers want access to EU markets; EU producers want access to Irish markets. That's what "common market" is about! It means of course, that competition can no longer rely on protectionism: quality is the key to the market.

As for jobs, the number of jobs a Tesco shop supplies has little to do with the origin of the produce it sells; it is directly related to the volume of business. And what type of jobs? Only a few for computer experts, I would agree, but plenty for those who have lost their jobs because their employers have decided, for the sake of profit, to relocate to Morocco and other low-wage locations, or because of their lack of training. And I am sure they are glad to have the employment.

But do I detect another agenda behind all this talk about foreign shops? Mr Cullen lifts the tip of the curtain: what we are really witnessing is a perfidious attempt at re-launching the Brit-bashing.

What better time to choose for this subversion, than when the peace process is under threat!

Let's stop this hypocrisy! - Yours, etc., Frans L. Frison,

Avondale Crescent, Killiney, Co Dublin.