Tag Archives | ThinkIrish.ie

When is buying Irish not actually buying Irish?

I’ve covered this topic a few times in the past, but I thought I’d come back to it again. I know from some of the e-mails I’ve received here and from some conversations with some friends and family, that the problem in trying to identify Irish made products is bigger than ever.

There’s been a fair bit of coverage in the media since earlier in the year where various parties are concerned that there are many products on sale in Ireland at the moment that may give consumers the impression that they’re made in Ireland when they’re actually not.

Back in January, Peter Donegan and I had a little over and back on Twitter about this very topic – Fiacla toothpaste was an example of a product where consumers would be easily misled. Fiacla, despite the name, isn’t made in Ireland any more. He published a follow up post on that which is available here.

Here’s some comments on the topic from Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú (Fianna Fail) from the Order of Business on February 4th last:

Supporting home industry and buying Irish-made goods will be an important part of the economic recovery. In recent times many people have been enquiring in shops about Irish-made goods in the belief that they are protecting and maintaining jobs at home.

However, it has come to light that the branding on some imported goods is misleading and people are buying goods they believe incorrectly to have been made in Ireland. Some examples were brought to our attention in recent reports. For example, if one eats “Old Time Irish Marmalade” in the morning one will believe it is Irish made but it is sourced in Portugal. Likewise one would be certain, having bought Siúcra sugar to put in one’s tea, that it was Irish sugar. It is sourced in Germany. One has to be particularly careful when buying salmon. There is smoked Irish salmon and Irish smoked salmon, but the latter might be imported and processed in Ireland.

These are only three examples but if this is comprehensive and there are many other such examples, we can see immediately that the economy is being undermined and that people who genuinely want to help home industry and buy Irish-made goods are being misled.

There is nothing illegal in that type of branding but we must make consumers aware it is happening. There is little point in exhorting people to buy Irish-made goods if that danger exists. I gave only three examples but I am sure there are many more. Producers in Ireland who have learned of this practice must feel very angry at present. We must protect our own and be certain that any product that goes on the shelves as Irish is Irish made.

Unfortunately, just words though. There was no meaningful debate on the issue, and no follow up on the day, nor any promised for the future (as if the Seanad could do anything anyway).

Something which is happening at the moment, which should help clarify things for Irish consumers, is the product database being developed over at ThinkIrish.ie. This database should eventually contain all Irish made products which we can refer to and make our purchases, safe in the knowledge that we’re buying Irish products.

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ThinkIrish.ie – A new “Buy Irish” campaign

You may already have seen the press coverage of the new internet based “Buy Irish” campaign being promoted by an organisation called ThinkIrish.ie.

I’m including below a press release that was sent to me announcing the launch of the campaign. They say that they’re not a commercial campaign – that their interests are purely for the benefit of Irish consumers and creating Irish jobs.

One can’t but support such noble intentions, but you know my suspicious nature – I’m going to reserve judgement on the specifics of the campaign and the people behind it until I learn a bit more.

Though the campaign has enough funds to engage a PR company, and models for a launch photoshoot, the website is quite basic and missing some key information to help understand who’s behind the campaign.

Like the Your Country, Your Call idea generating campaign, you have to wonder why people will build a campaign, put themselves into the public arena, yet be coy about providing full information on who they actually, and who’s funding them.

Anyway, here’s the press release. It’s your call:

ThinkIrish.ie on-line campaign launches to help generate 20,000 new jobs and fast-track economic recovery
Online product directory empowers consumers to make an informed choice with information on Irish goods
Dublin, 9 March, 2010 – A new online initiative designed to help consumers make informed choices in their buying decisions to support jobs in Ireland and economic recovery has launched today, Wednesday. ThinkIrish.ie is a consumer-driven campaign and on-line resource which is designed to empower consumers with the information they need to identify and source Irish products.
Launching the ThinkIrish.ie campaign, Alan Graham, campaign Director, said: “ThinkIrish.ie seeks to consolidate and channel consumer power to drive economic recovery and empower ordinary people to take an active role in our economic recovery through their buying decisions.  By switching just €20 of their weekly purchases to Irish goods and services, consumers can help to generate 20,000 new jobs across the country.
He said: “The cornerstone of ThinkIrish.ie is an on-line presence where consumers can access and share accurate and relevant information about Irish sourced goods and services.  This includes Ireland’s first online directory of Irish products that will allow consumers search for Irish alternatives for the everyday products they buy.”
Promoted by a group of Irish business people who believe that Irish consumers have the power to make a positive impact on economic recovery and job generation, Thinkirish.ie seeks to leverage this collective buying power of consumers with the encouragement and information we all need to make a difference.
Mr. Graham said:“ThinkIrish.ie is different to other ‘Buy Irish’ campaigns. It’s not a commercial tactic, it’s about Irish consumers finding a voice and a platform to effect change, and raise awareness about how powerful consumer spending can be,” continued Mr. Graham.
He said: “We want consumers the length and breath of the country to get involved, share information and make more informed purchasing decisions.
“ThinkIrish.ie has no commercial agenda – the only groups we want to support are the Irish consumer and the thousands of workers whose jobs are dependent on industry in Ireland,” he said.
ThinkIrish.ie is a not-for-profit initiative developed by Jonathan Stanley, the well-known retail entrepreneur. He is joined by Dublin accountant Eamonn Freaney, Paul McArdle of The Panel, Peter Kruseman of Mindstars and Alan Graham, a senior marketing executive with considerable retail experience.
ThinkIrish.ie advocates playing to the strengths of the Irish economy by supporting domestic Irish business and producers. “It is not a question of protectionism, we know imports are a critical part of this country’s success and in particular our export success,” said Mr. Graham.
“We’re not advocating support for any domestic product that doesn’t offer equivalent or greater value to the imported one.  Switching €20 need not cost a cent extra – provided people are equipped with the right information.  For example, we still import 25-30% of the bottled water we drink, yet it’s often more expensive to drink imported bottled water than a domestic brand – so switching will actually save you money.”
“Irish people have a basic in-built desire to support local manufacturing and the farming community. We want to tap into this national trait and empower consumers to decide for themselves what they can and want to do to help support Irish business and Irish jobs. Thinkirish.ie is ultimately about helping people to help themselves,” concluded Mr. Graham.
For more information and access to the Irish Product Directory please log on to www.thinkirish.ie.
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