A quiet Saturday morning was interrupted yesterday by a report in the Irish Examiner:
Radical legislation to ban smoking in vehicles carrying children has been approved by Health Minister James Reilly and will be enforced before the summer.
Under the draft legislation, to be completed by the end of this month, passengers as well as drivers face fines of €3,000 for smoking in a commercial or private vehicle with children.
The report did not appear in any other newspaper so this was not an official announcement. Nevertheless it needed a response because it was pretty obvious that other media would follow it up. Hence this press release, Campaigners criticise legislation to ban smoking in cars with children.
To date our response has been reported by the Irish Times (Mixed reaction to smoking ban news), Irish Independent (Ban on smoking in cars with children expected in July), and the national broadcaster RTE (Smoking ban in cars with children to come into effect soon).
There is a tendency in the UK to ignore what happens in Leinster House, home of the Irish parliament. We made that mistake with the smoking ban which was introduced in Ireland in 2004 and was directly responsible for the severity of the legislation that was subsequently enforced in Scotland (2006) and the rest of the UK in 2007.
For that reason we'll be following and, where possible, participating in the debate as it unfolds in Ireland.