Former Limerick mayor calls for smoking areas at hospitals

Kieran O'Hanlon claims smokers are "being treated like outcasts" by not being allowed to smoke on hospital campuses

Former Limerick mayor calls for smoking areas at hospitals

Picture by: Caroline Seidel/DPA/PA Images

A former Limerick mayor has called for smoking areas at his local hospitals.

In 2012, the HSE announced that smoking in all its hospital grounds would be banned as part of its 'Tobacco Free Campuses' policy.

However, Fianna Fáil Councillor Kieran O'Hanlon thinks it is better for patients health to give them somewhere sheltered to light up.

He has called for some smoking facilities to be brought back, citing the situations he has seen at University Hospital Limerick and St John's Hospital.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he explained: "It's very sad to see patients forced to stand outside the hospital gates if they want a cigarette. I think they're being treated like outcasts.

"We've had a very harsh winter. When I see people in the freezing cold or heavy rain, or wind and storms, and they have to stand outside... people who probably are very sick have to stand outside the gates of hospitals."

Councillor O'Hanlon stressed that he does not smoke himself, and that he has had a brother and sister die as a result of smoking in recent years.

He argued: "I'm totally anti-smoking. I believe whatever it takes to encourage people to stop smoking should be done.

"But at the end of the day, these people who are sick... I think that they should have a facility - like a bus shelter or something of that nature - where they can have a smoking area."

He added: "Think of the patients - the patients should come first."