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'Common sense needs to prevail' on outdoor smoking restrictions

A Galway restaurateur says common sense needs to prevail around smoking while people are eating o...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.53 20 Sep 2021


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'Common sense needs to prevail...

'Common sense needs to prevail' on outdoor smoking restrictions

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.53 20 Sep 2021


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A Galway restaurateur says common sense needs to prevail around smoking while people are eating outdoors.

JP McMahon was speaking after Green Party Councillor Erika Doyle called for a smoking ban in all outdoor dining areas.

She earlier told Newstalk what prompted her reaction: "I was out for a walk with my daughter on Saturday morning. We decided we would pop in somewhere to get a bit of brunch.

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"We were sitting there having a lovely meal - the sun was out, and it was a really nice atmosphere in an enclosed outdoor dining area.

"Suddenly, somebody lit a cigarette - straight away, the whole atmosphere changed. It was really unpleasant."

Mr McMahon told The Hard Shoulder we should be able to meet in the middle.

"We don't allow smoking in either of the outside dining areas at the moment.

"I suppose technically because 40% of the restaurant is outside and people book to eat - it's not a bar space where people just arrive at.

"Saying that: if somebody was to be outside by themselves at 10 o'clock and wanted a cigarette with their coffee, and no one else is around I don't think I'd be out telling them they couldn't.

A man smoking a cigarette in this 2013 file photo A man smoking a cigarette in this 2013 file photo. Picture by: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

"I do think common sense needs to prevail - but I do think because of the way outdoor spaces have changed and enlarged, I think we need to be more cognizant of people having their dinner".

He says he would not be in favour of an outright ban.

I smoked in the past... but I do notice a lot less people in the industry [smoking].

"So I do think it is fading out or fading away - but I suppose I'd prefer to see it fade away than some outright ban".

While comedian Jim Elliot says he believes outside is outside.

"My immediate impulse is to go 'outside is outside' - you should be allowed to smoke outside.

"But we did see during the pandemic there when outdoor dining was all that there was, there were a lot of restaurants that just kind of put up a shed with plastic walls on it and put some chairs in there - and there you go, that's outside now.

"Those sorts of things aside, if we're talking about an actual outdoor area where there's no roof and no walls around you, I really don't see why it should be banned."

Referring to Councillor Doyle's comment that the 'whole atmosphere changed' when someone lit a cigarette, he says: "Nobody pulled out a gun, OK - somebody lit a cigarette."

But he says there should be etiquette around smoking.

"I do think there are smokers out there - you know who you are, you know who your friends are - some of y'all don't know how to smoke.

"You look around - are you surrounded by prams at the minute? - maybe step away from the group and take your cigarette there.

"Or if you're sitting around and it does seem like nobody's too close to you, watch where your smoke is going.

"There's a way to smoke a cigarette and blow it up and keep it out of people's faces.

"I'm saying there's a considerate way to do it and I would hope in a perfect world, people would be considerate about that".

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has previously said an outdoor smoking ban would be difficult to enforce.

'Common sense needs to prevail' on outdoor smoking restrictions

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: An archive picture illustration shows the silhouette of a man smoking a cigarette in 2009. Picture by: Marcus Brandt/DPA/PA Images

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Erika Doyle JP McMahon Jim Elliot Outdoor Smoking Smoking Ban Smoking Restrictions The Hard Shoulder

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