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Delay on smoking ban decision unacceptable - Bairbre de Brún

28 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning reacted to the delay in the announcement of the smoking ban by expressing her disappointment.

However, Ms de Brún said that it was "a small first step in the right direction". Ms de Brún made her comments after Shaun Woodward announced that he would be delaying the decision on a smoking ban in the 6 Counties to assess whether to introduce a full or partial ban.

Speaking today the former Assembly Health Minister said:

"Today's announcement on the introduction of a smoking ban is only a small first step, but should be welcomed as a move towards a health conscious society. The British Government initiated a consultation period a number of months ago and received 70,000 responses. A resounding 91% of those who responded were in favour of a total smoking ban on public places. Such an overwhelming response should be enough to ensure a full ban, rather than a partial ban.

"I fail to understand why Mr Woodward has taken the opportunity to make a key note speech concerning a smoking ban, if he is delaying the decision until he receives further information. This research should have been conducted and fully concluded before this announcement.

"Following the success of the smoking ban in the 26 Counties and the recent decision by the Scottish Executive to introduce a similar ban, there is a growing realization in the 6 Counties that such legislation would be practical and extremely beneficial to the health of all workers. The health and well being of all our citizens should be of paramount importance to those who make decisions on their behalf.

"Health professionals are calling for a ban and the general public is overwhelmingly calling for a ban. There is no conceivable reason why a full ban should not be implemented immediately." ENDS

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