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Made in EU labels threat to Irish identity, jobs

Seán McGoldrick, Assistant PRO, Republican Sinn Féin
January 13, 2004

Plans by Brussels to introduce compulsory 'Made in EU' labels on products made in Ireland are meeting with opposition.

The change, being considered by the European Commission to create a common EU identity, would ultimately mean that it would be impossible to identify the country of origin of goods manufactured within the EU.

The proposal is being opposed in Ireland amid fears that this will lead to people buying goods they assume are Irish made but which may in future be produced elsewhere.

Irish small businesses are also concerned that they will in future be restricted in promoting products on the basis of national origin. Brand experts have criticised the plans, arguing that consumers have few positive associations with the EU. They say national origin markings can be valuable in branding and promoting products, and that it is unlikely that a "Made in the EU" marking would carry the same cachet as a "Made in France" or "Made in Germany" stamp.

Republican Sinn Féin is opposing the plans and has called for them to be scrapped. A spokesperson said RSF was encouraging people throughout the 32 Counties to purchase Irish-made goods in Irish-owned shops.

Seán McGoldrick, Ard Chomhairle, said that people had a right to know if the goods they are buying are made in Ireland or not. "Buying goods made in Ireland helps to keep jobs in Ireland. That is why the country of origin should be clearly marked. On the other hand if there is a brand name that we assume to be Irish made, the country of manufacture should be known too, because the goods are not necessarily made in Ireland and buying them is doing nothing to save jobs."

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