Home > Joint Committee on Health and Children debate. Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill: Discussion with Minister for Health.

[Oireachtas] Joint Committee on Health and Children debate. Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill: Discussion with Minister for Health. (05 Dec 2013)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/Debates%20A...


Chairman: I welcome the Minister for Health, Deputy James Reilly; Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer; and Ms Geraldine Luddy from the Department of Health. This is our second session today in which we will deal with the general scheme of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill. On 19 November the Government approved the publication of the general scheme of the Bill and, at the request of the Minister, the committee has been asked to consider in a public manner the heads of the Bill. At our meeting last week we agreed to commence that consideration today by allowing the Minister and the Chief Medical Officer to set the tone for the debate. Prior to the Christmas holidays, the committee will conclude its internal deliberations on the composition of hearings, which it is intended to hold in the last week of January. Our first meeting in January will be the quarterly meeting with the Minister. That meeting will take place on 16 January. In the week beginning 20 January we hope to begin our consultative process on the heads of the Bill. 

 
Witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against a person or an entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
 
Apologies have been received from Deputies billy Kelleher and Catherine Byrne who have other events to attend.
 
Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I thank the Chairman and the joint committee for facilitating this meeting. This is a very important public health initiative and the Bill will protect children from a habit that kills one in two people who take it up. I am pleased to be joined by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, and Ms Geraldine Luddy from the Department.
 
I do not know if familiarity breeds contempt, but in the case of smoking, it often stops one from breathing. If today we were to discover a product in routine domestic use was killing half the people who used it, I do not think it is too much of a leap in imagination to speculate that everybody would pull out all the stops to fix the issue. If this product were to be brought to the market today, knowing what we know about it, it would not see the light of day and would never be made legal. I have said many times that my priority, while not forgetting those who smoke currently, is to prevent children from starting. We are not anti-smoker and will continue to support smokers who wish to kick the habit……..
 
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Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:5 December 2013
EndNote:View
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Substance industry or business
B Substances > Tobacco (cigarette smoking) > Tobacco smoke (cigarette law / policy)

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