Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Disgraceful and partisan': Mattie McGrath hits out as Tesco removes pro-life group's charity appeal


TESCO IRELAND HAS received criticism from Mattie McGrath after a store pulled a charity campaign which was to benefit a pro-life organisation.

As part of their blue chip charity drive which gives customers the opportunity to decide which cause to give to, the Every Life Counts group was one of the options at an outlet in Shankill, south Dublin.

A customer asked Tesco whether the group complied with the store’s terms and conditions for the charity drive. A spokesman for the company said it did not and it was removed.

“We only support causes that are politically neutral,” Tesco Ireland said in a statement.

However, this decision has been met with hostility by Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who described it as “disgraceful and partisan” and urged the retailer to reinstate the organisation, which describes itself as “a place where the lives of our much-loved children are celebrated, and where we can reach out to parents in similar situations”.

Tesco Ireland said the group could not be a blue chip choice as it was not apolitical. However, McGrath said: “This is a disgraceful and completely partisan decision by Tesco which needs to be reversed without delay.
Part of the rationale given by Tesco was that the store strives to be ‘apolitical’ and neutral’ with respect to the charities that it permits to use the blue chip service. Yet this claim cannot withstand even a moment’s honest scrutiny.
“In January Tesco joined the global coalition, Open for Business, which supports the push for LGBT rights. Is this ‘apolitical’ or ‘neutral’?”

Last year, four Irish families travelled to Geneva to try and end the use of the term “incompatible with life”. The trip was organised by Every Life Counts.

The group is not a registered charity, according to Revenue.
In a statement released to TheJournal.ie, Tesco Ireland said the organisation was removed as it breached the store’s terms and conditions.

A spokeswoman for the chain said: “To date, the Tesco community fund has supported over 5,000 local causes and donated over €2 million across Ireland.
At Tesco, we recognise that our customers and colleagues have a wide and varied range of personal beliefs and values. As such, through the community fund, we only support causes that are politically neutral.
“The inclusion of this cause was not in line with our Community Fund policy and therefore following feedback from customers it was removed.”

A statement from Every Life Counrs received on Tuesday morning described Tesco’s decision as “bizarre and upsetting”.

A spokesperson said: “ We provide a forum for families whose babies were diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, including memory-making and counselling, support and information. We also work to have perinatal hospice care made available to families when they get the very distressing news that their baby might not live for long after birth.”

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