'Clothes are not essential' - says Irish Minister following Government's 'non-essential retail' list
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'Clothes are not essential' - says Irish Minister following Government's 'non-essential retail' list

AN IRISH MINISTER has backed the Government's non-essential retail list which prevents people from buying clothes.

Temporary measures have been introduced which limit the items people in Ireland are allowed to buy from shops in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise Damien English stressed that clothes are "not essential" purchases during RTE's Prime Time on Thursday night.

Host Miriam O'Callaghan proposed to the junior minister that the new rules were "very confusing" and asked Mr English why she was able to "buy a bottle of wine, but not socks for my son."

The Minister responded: "Socks come under clothes, Miriam. Clothes are not essential."

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"That seems mad, Minister," replied O'Callaghan.

Minister English went on to explain that the idea of what is 'essential' will differ from person to person, and that it'll be impossible to please everyone, but the general aim behind the new rules is to "discourage the movement of people as much as possible".

Government guidelines state that under Level Five restrictions, retailers that sell a mix of essential and non-essential goods are required to "make arrangements for the separation" of the non-essential section.

It comes after Aldi and Lidl announced they are pausing their middle-aisle promotions in line with Covid-19 advice from the Government.

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon said Minister English had let himself down with his comments on Prime Time.

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"I think Mr English let himself down," Mr Gannon said on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

"I think in terms of the large supermarkets in the first lockdown you'd be walking around Tesco and you can get your food items but there's also an aisle there where you can pick up your socks and t-shirts.

"There's absolutely no point in closing those aisles at the minute. In terms of how we make it fair we have to make it sensible. And I think closing down certain aisles in supermarkets where you can pick up socks and t-shirts there is no point in closing them down."