**I understand and acknowledge that McDonald's does not promote healthy eating habits, but I look on their funding of these Ronald McDonald Houses for the use of families with hospitilised children as making the devil pay his dues. If you have ever had a sick child in hospital for any length of time, you know how it can tear a family apart trying to be with the child as well as take care of its own needs. These houses attempt to address that issue. Many times children and families must journey far away from home to the appropriate treatment places, and there is no option to drive back and forth from home to child. You are not going to stop people from demanding and buying unhealthy fast food, but if you can get some good use out of the profit from it, it should not be denied, especially when it is the sick children with all manner of diseases which will benefit. To deny it when you allow McDonald's to begin with is to cut off your nose to spite your face.

Harney under fire over hospital’s McDonald’s link

04 December 2004
By Claire O’Sullivan

HEALTH Minister Mary Harney was last night accused of a serious conflict of interest after she officially opened a children’s hospital project funded by a charity with close ties to the global food giant McDonald’s.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Liz McManus said the decision to perform the opening ceremony at Ireland’s first Ronald McDonald House showed “the department really is not taking the drive against obesity and unhealthy eating seriously enough.”

“I cannot believe that she opened the centre yet the Government is supposed to be running a serious drive to encourage healthy eating and fight the growing epidemic of obesity. Fast food outlets like McDonalds do not serve the interest of the health services at all,” Ms McManus said.

The €3.75 million Ronald Mc Donald House has been built on the grounds of Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin by the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities of Ireland (RMCC) and will offer ‘home away from home’ accommodation for 16 families who have sick children in the hospital and are forced to spend long periods away from home.

The Department of Health yesterday strongly denied that attendance at the opening was a conflict of interest.

“The campaign against obesity and to promote healthy eating will continue and we don’t see a conflict of interest,” a department spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for Mc Donald’s Ireland said that Mr Harney’s presence showed that the department did not actively discourage the eating of fast food and that Mc Donald’s encouraged moderate eating habits.

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