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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre
Proprietors of Falls Road shop say responsible owners will be hardest hit

Ban angers sunbed salon owners

By Francesca Ryan

The owner of a local tanning salon has described new legislation on the use of sunbeds as “draconian”. The legislation, which bans people under the age of 18 from using, hiring or buying sunbeds, came into effect this week. As of Tuesday, any business found to be permitting under-18s to use, buy or hire sunbeds may be prosecuted.

The legislation also requires that those over-18s who wish to use sunbeds be provided with information on the health risks. And sunbed salons will be required to display a notice warning of the risks of sunbed use.

While the legislation has been welcomed by health campaigners, cancer charities  and politicians, not everyone is enthusiastic.

Joe and Rosemary Brennan are the proprietors of City Tan on the Falls Road.  The pair say only responsible sunbed owners will be punished by the legislation.

“This legislation has not been thought through properly,” said Joe. “It takes away freedom of choice for those aged 16 to 18.  It’s draconian and oppressive.

“We have been here 10 years and we have always assessed our customers’ skin, asked about medical conditions and, for the young, sought parental permission.

“Now we are being told that someone who is 17-and-a-half with swarthy skin cannot use the beds but an 18-year-old with pale skin and freckles can. It just doesn’t make any sense.  It seems to us that only less responsible sunbed owners will benefit from this legislation, the rest will be punished.”

And Rosemary questioned how the new legislation will be enforced.

“It’s going to be hard to police this legislation, as young ones can get ID from anywhere these days,” she said. “As well as that, since it was announced we have had an unusually high number of calls enquiring about hiring sunbeds.

“How do they plan to police the hiring of sunbeds? They can’t walk into people’s homes, there is nobody can police that. It really hasn’t been thought out properly.”

Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of the Health Committee, Sue Ramsey, welcomed the new legislation and said it must be rigorously enforced.

“While the legislation is welcome, we now must see robust enforcement of this in order to protect our young people,” she said.

“Further to this, we must see a responsible attitude from those who use sunbeds in the home.

“The dangers are now very well known and I would urge parents to protect their children by not letting them use these sunbed machines in the home.”

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