Intimidatory Behaviour of the Tobacco Industry

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business]

A few weeks ago I asked a question of the Leader which he was unfortunately unable to answer because he developed a very dry throat. He had a coughing attack and was not able to give his usual very full and comprehensive answer to questions. I hope he is feeling better. I asked if the Government would consider the possibility, in view of the highly intimidatory, extra-judicial and extra-jurisdictional attempt by international tobacco companies to prevent our Government from exercising its right and duty to protect the health of its own citizens by introducing appropriate tobacco control legislation, of proscribing any company which seeks to subvert our democracy, legally or in any other way, as an illegal organisation in the same way it proscribed the organisations that murdered so many of our citizens during the conflict in Northern Ireland. Would the Minister consider the possibility of introducing a referendum to make a very simple amendment to our Constitution to include a statement to the effect that the Constitution does not protect the right to tobacco commerce? Tobacco companies would then exist at the pleasure of the elected legislature.

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