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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 379 - Tobacco control measures [8072/15] [Plain packaging].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 379 - Tobacco control measures [8072/15] [Plain packaging]. (24 Feb 2015)


379. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health his views on concerns that some legal firms are simultaneously acting on behalf of the State in various matters and also for tobacco companies which are taking action or are threatening to take action against the State in respect of plain packaging measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8072/15]

 

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I assume the Deputy is referring to reports last week that Arthur Cox Solicitors are acting on behalf of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and also as legal advisors to the HSE. In relation to the Standardised Packaging legislation, the legislation is being prepared by the Department of Health and not by the HSE.

 

The HSE has informed me that its contracting model for legal services came into effect in 2011 following a competitive tender process. The HSE’s model for legal services involves in excess of thirty law firms delivering services through four geographical panels; each panel representing a HSE Administrative Area. The law firms on these panels deliver advices and services across a broad range of areas, reflecting the breath of services and activities of the HSE. Arthur Cox Solicitors act as the service manager for the contract and provide the HSE with corporate legal advice. The HSE should be informed of any direct conflicts of interest that exist between it and other clients of service providers. The HSE indicated that they were not notified by Arthur Cox in relation to JTI, and that it is making enquiries with Arthur Cox regarding any potential conflicts of interest in this regard as a matter of urgency.

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