Reilly knew about Taoiseachs tobacco meeting but would not go

first_imgHEALTH MINISTER DR James Reilly has responded to questions about a meeting in government buildings between the Taoiseach, two senior ministers and representatives from the tobacco industry.When questioned by Senator Professor John Crown at the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children meeting today, Minister Reilly said that previously he had “declared war in the Seanad on the tobacco industry”.He said:Was I aware of this meeting? I was. Would I go to it? No, I would not.Reilly said that he knows of no other industry “that is legal that if you use their product one out of two of you will die and that’s the reality”, and that thousands of Irish people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses.The Minister was questioned on the issue after it emerged that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Ministers Alan Shatter and Michael Noonan met with representatives from three tobacco companies a fortnight ago.Reilly said that he recalled a World Health Organisation directive not recommending that people meet with the tobacco industry except in the area of smuggling, and that the purpose of the recent meeting was to discuss smuggling.The Minister also spoke of the duty of care that the State has to minors regarding smoking, and said he takes the whole area of tobacco control really seriously.He said that he hopes to introduce plain packaging for cigarette packages and to progress the banning of smoking in cars where children are present.Nessa Childers MEP and the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Health Foundation had all expressed their shock at the news of the meeting, with the latter charities saying they had written to the Taoiseach to express their concern.Read: Taoiseach, ministers criticised for “inappropriate” tobacco industry meeting>last_img read more