Marketing in Schools Goes to the Dogs!
April 28, 2012 by Joe Fogarty
As the traditional school tour season begins, the Irish Greyhound Board are offering students and teachers tours of Greyhound stadia around the country.
Just when it seemed that Tayto Park couldn’t be beaten as an unhealthy, commercially-driven tour destination, the IGB have produced a flyer enticing teachers to introduce children to the world of dog racing, gambling and blood sports.
Greyhound Action Ireland have condemned the promotion saying “Surely the high incidence of both gambling addictions and animal abuse in Ireland should be a red flag to anyone concerned about children’s welfare.” The group have asked Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to “stop the IGB seducing children with ‘goody bags’ in gambling establishments.”
Meanwhile in Dáil Éireann deputy Maureen O’ Sullivan (Independent: Dublin Central) put a question to the Minister asking if he would address the issue of children being introduced to race tracks during school hours. Unsurprisingly, the Minister’s response mirrored that of his predecessors in declining to give any guidance or protection to schools or children from commercial exploitation. As before responsibility for dealing with commercial encroachment into schools was shirked as the Minister said it was up to each school to decide whether this ridiculous and entirely biased sales pitch was a suitable venue for a school tour.
However the Minister did note that “the objective of an educational tour should be to provide a significant benefit in the educational, intellectual, cultural and social development of pupils taking part.” Such a tour is unlikely to be of significant benefit to anyone other than the Greyhound Racing industry and bookmakers as young children are given a state-sponsored introduction to racing and gambling. The Campaign for Commercial-Free Education takes some pleasure in Minister Quinn’s statement that “I would share the Deputy’s concern that schools might expose children to gambling and betting as these kind of activities are not appropriate for young children.”
Will this latest audacious attempt to advertise through schools be enough to prompt the Minister to take action and ban commercial promotions aimed at Irish schools?