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Sinn Féin urge extension of right to smoke-free workplace

17 October, 2005

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has welcomed reports that the NIO Minister Shaun Woodward is looking favourably on introducing the right to a smoke-free workplace in the Six Counties.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Sinn Fein have been urging the NIO to adopt legislation on banning smoking similar to that of the Irish Government for some time now. It is very positive that it appears that the NIO are now considering extending the right to a smoke-fee working environment into the Six Counties.

"The introduction of legislation allowing everyone the right to work in a smoke free workplace would be the single greatest advance in public health for a generation.

"Sinn Féin believe we need a greater focus on public health and the prevention of illness. Bairbre de Brún as then Health Minister started the ball rolling with the Investing for Health Strategy; this is the logical next step.

"Regardless of what happens in Britain, there is now a compelling case for immediate steps to introduce legislation here in line with the rest of Ireland and demonstrate that there is a real commitment to the public health agenda, to improving the health of our workforce and in helping to reduce serious illness and disease."

Concluding Mr O Dowd said

"I would call on the representatives of the Licensed trade to see the introduction of such legislation as firstly protecting their employees and customers health as well as their own and an opportunity to attract the a greater proportion of the 75% of the population who do not smoke back into their local.

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