Finian McGrath defends "personal" views on smoking in pubs

The new junior health minister says he will support government policy

Finian McGrath, smoking, pubs, bars, Ireland, policy, government, junior health minister,

Super Junior Minster with responsibility for disability issues Finian McGrath talking to the media | Image: RollingNews.ie

Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath has said he stands by his comments on smoking, but will support Government policy on it.

The Independent TD for Dublin Bay North was commenting after he was quoted yesterday as saying he would like to see more smoking facilities in bars and restaurants.

The minister said he still holds the 'private, personal view' that smoking should be allowed in designated sections of pubs and bars.

"I've seen it work in other EU countries. I was in Portugal with the justice committee two years ago and I saw it firsthand," he said

"I was in Germany a couple of years ago and - I think it was Frankfurt - they had a similar position and I saw it working."

It is the Government's policy to make Ireland smoke free by 2025 - and Minister McGrath said he will support that.

Sinn Féin has hit out at the comments from the Junior Health Minister.

The party's health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly says "whatever he wants to do to his own health is to a certain extent his own business. It's not simply a personal choice - it is a matter for the people who work around him":

Dr Luke Clancy of the Tobacco Free Research Institute said he was disappointed that the remarks had come from a government minister.