The Children's Minister has made it clear he will not be buckling to pressure to stop the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.
James Reilly was responding to a letter from one of the country's largest tobacco firms JTI Ireland which warned they will take legal action if he does not halt the plans.
The new legislation would remove all branding from cigarette packets in an effort to deter people from buying them.
This afternoon, Minister Reilly had this message for tobacco companies:
JTI Ireland owns the Benson and Hedges and Silk Cut brands.
Minister Reilly is facing an Oireachtas Committee to discuss the overall issue this afternoon.
Chairman of the health sub-committee deputy Jerry Buttimer says today's hearing is another step towards the legislation being enacted.
Arthur Beesley, Political News Editor with The Irish Times, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast this morning and he said it was an "extraordinary letter. In effect, the company appears to be instructing the Government to withdraw legislation which is before the Dáil."
Newstalk Lunchtime spoke to Professor Robert West, editor-in-chief of the journal ‘Addiction’ who has published data on packaging, and with Joe Sweeney, who is in Australia for the National Federation of Retail Newsagents.
Joe spoke about his experiences in Australia on the issue: "It is a huge cost and huge inconvenience for retailers."
"Nobody doubts the health benefits of trying to reduce smoking... but for us it's a business."
Professor Robert West on the other hand stated that it would be far too early to know whether this has worked in Australia.
Originally posted at 7.00am