Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has hit out at Enda Kenny following revelations that the Taoiseach has conducted formal talks with the tobacco industry.
Deputy Martin commented: “It simply beggars belief that the Taoiseach should conduct such a meeting along with Ministers Shatter and Noonan. It shows a fundamental lack of judgement on the part of the Taoiseach.
“To hold such a meeting is a tacit endorsement of big tobacco and all the damage it does. Naturally the companies were thrilled by the meeting, the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers’ Advisory Committee (ITMAC) even described it as ‘very positive’.
“We need to get a full account of this meeting, what was discussed and what was agreed. We need to hear whether the Taoiseach is sympathetic to the interests of this industry.
“For decades now it has been public policy to curb tobacco use and the appalling damage it does. A key part of that has been to make smoking socially unacceptable. What message does the Taoiseach’s meeting send in that regard?
“Remember, the goal of these companies is to get people addicted to smoking. There is an essential and incompatible conflict between the public interest and that of tobacco companies.
“While we all know that the Taoiseach no longer takes Minister Reilly seriously, were the Tánaiste or the Labour Ministers in the Department of Health aware of this meeting? Do they approve?”