This week tobacco control campaigners in Ireland will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the public smoking ban.
Introduced on Saturday March 29, 2004, it was a big day because overnight Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in all enclosed public places.
I'll be writing more on the subject but I just wanted to flag something up.
This morning Ireland’s most-listened to radio show, RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland, is broadcasting live from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in Dublin where "the RCPI, together with ASH Ireland and the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland, will mark ten years of the workplace smoking ban in Ireland with a symposium featuring a number of international guest speakers".
Between 7.00am and 9.00am Morning Ireland will interview some of the speakers who include Minister for Health Dr James Reilly; Professor Luke Clancy, director general of the TobaccoFree Research Institute (and former chairman of ASH Ireland); Dr Pat Doorley, Faculty of Public Health Medicine in Ireland; and our old friend Professor John Crown.
Having been tipped off about the programme we offered Forest Eireann's John Mallon as a representative of smokers who have been adversely affected by the ban.
There was interest from RTE but there was also a problem. RCPI didn't want John on the premises because he "had been at some event in their place".
It took a moment for the penny to drop. Then we remembered the 'debate' organised by the IEA in Dublin last October. (See Chris Snowdon's report, An Evening in Dublin.)
Not only did Forest have nothing to do with the event, John wasn't even on the panel of speakers. He was simply an interested observer, a position he shared with every other member of the audience, the overwhelming majority of whom were anti-smoking.
The RCPI's reaction demonstrates yet again that the medical profession has no interest in engaging with smokers, the people they keep saying they are trying to help.
Their behaviour smacks of third world dictators who refuse to acknowledge anyone whose views don't match their own. From their ivory tower they merely want to lecture and harass ordinary people until we bend to their will.
Fair play to Morning Ireland, though. John will still be a guest on the programme - at 7.20am - but he will be interviewed at RTE's Dublin studios instead.
Funnily enough, the post I wrote about the IEA event was given the title Tantrums and tobacco: the ugly face of public health.
I could just as easily use the same headline to describe their behaviour now.
Update: John was on Morning Ireland at 7.40. Oddly, they didn't mention him when tweeting a list of interviews.
Update: John is being interviewed by RTE News at 11.00am outside the RCPI. I'm told a press conference is taking place inside but John's not allowed in!
John was also due to be on Tonight with Vincent Browne (TV3).
Brown is one of Ireland's leading journalists. A non-practising barrister, he's a columnist for the Irish Times and Sunday Business Post.
Sadly the proposed item on the smoking ban has been shelved in favour of a breaking news story that says everything about Irish politics.
John described it to me like this:
A Garda [police] whistleblower came out about a month ago with startling evidence of Gardai cancelling penalty points retrospectively for the rich and famous. Earlier last year our Justice Minister Alan Shatter was stopped by a Garda roadblock under suspicion of drink driving. He invoked an ancient law where a Dail Deputy on his way to the Dail was not subject to being stopped by the force.
Shatter suspended the whistleblower and later the Garda Commissioner went public, calling the whistleblower "disgusting". Then last Thursday the Transport Minister Dr Leo Varadkar went public in his support for the whistleblower and shortly afterwards the Minister for Social Protection publicly agreed with that stance.
A very angry Enda Kenny (Taoiseach) was then interviewed and strongly supported Shatter and the Commissioner suggesting that his own front bench should shut up. After that the head of the Labour Party (the coalition partner) came out in defence of the Garda whistleblower. The news pundits sniff a government crisis so the right to smoke in pubs has shot way down the agenda.