12 August 2020
By Tom Collins
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has warned ‘staycationers’ not to be complacent about sunscreen.
Senator Lombard said: “Thankfully for most people, sunscreen is an absolute staple when packing for a trip to sunnier climes.
“Unfortunately though, many people forget about sun protection while at home in Ireland.
“With more of us than ever staycationing this year, it’s important to remember that the sun can be just as strong and damaging in Cork as it can be in warmer countries.
“No matter where you are, UV rays are present all year round, even on the chillier, cloudy days we are all well accustomed to.
“With so many fantastic outdoor activities across the country – from wonderful Greenways to fabulous beaches and walking trails – it’s of paramount importance, whatever the weather, to wear sunscreen.”
Senator Lombard continued: “Over 11,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland every year and this country has the highest mortality rate from melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – in Europe.
“A recent survey by Irish charity Breakthrough Cancer Research found that 72% of people do not know the UV index at which they should wear sunscreen and only 34% wear it on their face every day.
“The survey also found that some 48% of people remember to wear it on their face when it is sunny, but just 0.1 % wear it when it is cloudy.
“The survey also noted that other sun protection behaviours were low, with just 13% of people always wearing a hat when sunny, 15% always seeking shade and 25% always wearing sunglasses.
“Due to the often miserable weather in Ireland, we don’t talk about sunscreen half as much as we should.
“It’s time we better educated ourselves better on the damaging effects UV has on our skin year round.
“Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, but it’s also the most preventable.
“To help ensure sunscreen is more widely accessible, I have written to the Minister for Finance to ask him to consider reducing the VAT on sunscreen.
“It’s time we stopped viewing it as a cosmetic luxury and began seeing it as an essential.”